Sunday, 17 March 2013
100+ birds and 100+ birders
Dawn found me at Juniper Bottom near Mickleham, waiting for the arrival of the wintering Hawfinch flock that I first found eight days ago. The light was poor and the precipitation an annoying drizzle that didn't quite want to turn into proper rain (although by mid-morning it had). The first Hawfinches arrived at 06.40hrs, and for the next half hour up to 30 birds appeared, the largest flocks being 12 and six. At 07.45hrs and a little further up the valley the Hawfinch 'mother ship' finally appeared, in the guise of 80 birds spread out across a Beech tree and flanking Yews. They kept in view for maybe 10-15 minutes before doing what Hawfinches do best - just disappearing! At least 110 were present this morning. By 10.30hrs, apart from the odd call and fly-by, they had seemingly gone.
Almost as numerous were the birders. The most in view at once was 40. I reckoned on 100+ in total. For all you keen students of birding demographics there were six women and just three men under 30 years old. I could do a paper on this sort of stuff...