Friday, 5 May 2017


A quick turnaround at home and we were off again for a couple of days photographing Hawfinches in the Forest of Dean. Last year we had thirty two of them on the ground just a few feet in front of the hide. I was surprised by the numbers but I thought this was going to be the norm. Sadly that wasn't the case. This year the flocks seem to have broken up a couple of weeks earlier and the Hawfinches had already dispersed to nesting territories.

We did see some Hawfinches, probably eight on the first day, three close and five distant, but none on the second day, with just one heard in the trees above us. Compared with last year picture opportunities were a bit limited. You can only see this as a missed opportunity. Last year we managed to get some great pictures and were also able to pass on a lot of valuable ringing data to our local contact. It would have been good to get a similar result.

Still, before we move onto the Hawfinches a couple of shots of Reed Warblers. Checking my records I didn't record seeing one last year so this was an early target. We had stopped off at Slimbridge on the way to the Forest of Dean. There was not much to see, very distant views of Common Cranes plus two or three of these chasing each other through the reeds.

Reed Warbler

Thursday, on location with the hides up, the first Hawfinch appeared just before six . I took a couple of shots but the light levels were just too low. By seven they had improved a bit and I was up to 1/160 sec at ISO 1600 and f5.6. Far from perfect but at least I could get a picture provided that the birds came close and stood still.

 At nine we had a third bird close enough to photograph. The light had not improved but this one did stay around for a while and gave some good picture opportunities.

We stayed in the hides for another three hours but there were no more birds on the ground and only a few calling in the trees. Six hours for three birds is a meagre return but it was at least better than the Friday where at a second site we had one bird calling in the trees and none visible on the ground.

I enjoyed the trip, the results were a bit disappointing but we live off the success of last year. The pain of sitting for six hours on that little stool in the hide is disappearing and we are already planning a return trip for next year.

To finish - Perhaps it makes him look a little less attractive to a predator?

No comments:

Post a Comment