I make no secret of the fact that I love Hawfinches. It pleases me to have these lovely birds as a fairly regular species within the local area, but, typical of that species, they can sometimes go missing for months on end. It is with great pleasure that, over the past week, I have been able to watch them once again, with a minimum of 11 birds (possibly as many as 16) having been seen over the past week in the western valleys of Headley Heath, and up on the adjoining wooded slope at High Ashurst.
I position myself overlooking the valleys on their eastern flank, which gives me good views across the tree lines. Both my sessions here have been from 13.30hrs until dusk. The earliest that a Hawfinch has appeared is 14.00hrs, and the latest 15.42hrs. The busiest time seems to be around 15.00hrs. Views are usually of birds flying along the distant tree line, or circling the valleys. A couple of times birds have alighted and given reasonable scope views. Twice a flock of five has been recorded. A total of six hours has been spent sitting in the same spot waiting for them - it is not a game that is regularly rewarded. Today I had but six separate observations, but when they deign to show it is all worthwhile.
There are side-shows to compensate the non-Hawfinch moments. The thrush roost was back to four-figures this evening (1,075 Redwing) plus up to 70 Redpolls were buzzing about. There is always something flying across the ravines, be they assorted finches, Stock Dove and Woodpigeon flocks, Common Buzzards or Red Kites. In truth, there is never a dull moment.