Wildlife Blog Jan 2018
Sunday January 14th 2018
A dreich, dark and thoroughly unpromising morning, indeed even at 9:30 when I started it felt like it might rain any moment and I might have to give up. However, I persevered, not least as I was keen to see if I could find the group of three Hawfinches that had been reported on the hill and along Smithy Loan this last week. There has been a small ‘invasion’ of these chunky finches (with a bill that can crack cherry stones!) in to the UK, mainly further south this winter, though small numbers are resident as well. In the end, the answer was no, but I scanned each tree top and listened hard for their calls and did at least pick up various other finches. Most notable was a flock of 12 Bullfinches, in itself a surprisingly large number for this secretive finch, with another pair elsewhere, a solitary Goldfinch and a flock of 6 Siskins; all in addition to the usual Chaffinches.
The cold weather of the previous weeks has put paid to any early nest-building and there were only 6 Rooks anywhere to be seen in the colony tree tops, though some 26 Jackdaws were around. I saw a Hooded crow on the Laighills at the end of December, had two Ravens on the hill last month and heard a Jay calling from the hill last week, but the only other corvids today were 3 Carrion crows and 5 Magpies. In much greater numbers were various tit species, a combined flock of some 20 Great, Blue and Coal tits feeding amongst the brambles near the path. A small group of 8 Redwings and single Mistle and Song thrushes were joined by 3 Blackbirds feeding in amongst the leaf litter, with a Great spotted Woodpecker and various Nuthatches calling above.
And although it remained a dull and dark morning, with little of colour to note, two Roe deer were feeding near the hilltop and the first Snow drops are out.
Image: Wikipedia. Mark Medcalf: “Male Eurasian Bullfinch in Lochwinnoch”. Released under CCA 2.0 Generic.