There might be some loyal readers who are not totally fed-up with these posts, and if so, then this is for you...
The weather was not brilliant this morning - misty, murky, steady rain and with the promise of it getting heavier - so I aborted any fresh Hawfinch searches and instead stood under a sheltering Yew tree looking across at Bramblehall Wood between 07.00 - 08.30hrs. It was a very quiet start, with the first 45 minutes producing just 27 Hawfinches, but then it all went according to form, with birds leaving the southern end of the wood and flying down the valley and crossing to the slopes of Ashurst Rough. This was the easiest count to do at the site so far, as very few birds came back, the flight line was constant and a steady trickle was not taxing on the maths. The biggest flock was of c90 and the final total reached 255. As always, there were probably a few more.
After this flow dried up and birds were not seen crossing back further down the valley, I went in search of them. The slopes were deathly quiet, so I carried on up to Juniper Top (where I heard just two calls) and then checked the massive banks of Yew at Juniper Bottom - zilch. I've no idea where they had gone, unless they slipped across to Bramblehall undetected.
Just to prove to you how anally retentive I am, my current number of 'Hawfinch bird days in Surrey' (since the invasion began back in October) is 2,232.
I don't know whether to feel pride or shame.