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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.

Click here to see the bird report for January 2018.   Links to all Chris’ blogs, and a note about his survey method, can be found here.

Chris Spray

Image: Wikipedia.   Mark Medcalf: “Male Eurasian Bullfinch in Lochwinnoch”.   Released under CCA 2.0 Generic.

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