Saturday, 10 February 2018

Godmersham Hawfinches

This year has seen an unprecedented arrival of the Hawfinch to the UK and only having seen a handful in my birding life, I thought I had better try to see some before most make their way back to the continent. News broke a few weeks ago of a small flock at Godmersham Church so during the past week, I have made a couple of visits to see this stunning finch. On my first trip, it wasn't long until I saw 4 birds sitting on top of a few distant trees and they made a few fly byes showing of their characteristic shape and call. I did obtain some nice views of them perched in Yew trees but due to the number also on sight enjoying this spectacle, they were always very wary and only provided a few photo opportunities. With the weather looking good this morning again with light winds, I decided on another visit and arrived on site at 7.45am. As I drove up the lane there was only one other birder there so I hoped my chances would be better of getting a few photographs. It wasn't long until I heard a few calling and like Waxwings, they dropped into a nearby Yew tree together and started to feed. I was on the wrong side of the tree for the light but not wanting to spook them, I go into the best position and slowly they moved to the outer branches where I was able to get lovely views through the binoculars and thankfully, a few shots of this attractive species. A while later, a car coming up the lane spooked them and they were off again but during the next 2 hours, I had a few more views of them as the numbers of birders once again started to grow. Other birds seen in the area included 2 Common Buzzards, 2 Grey Wagtail, 4 Mistle Thrush, 2 Nuthatch, 1 Treecreeper, 2 Coal Tit and quite a few Goldcrest in the churchyard. A few come within range of the camera providing a few more photo attempts but with the cold starting to get through, I decided to call it a day and leave for home. A superb birding spectacle and privilege to see these normally very scarce Kent birds and at last, I had a few useable photos of them to keep. With a week off work now, I may even return again if the weather allows it.
 
 








Hawfinch (male)


16 comments:

  1. Excellent set of images of this elusive finch Marc, and although the influx doesn't appear to have produced and in our area of Lancashire, there are regular views of a few residents just over the border in Cumbria.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Many thanks Pete. I can count my Hawfinch sightings in the past 20 years on my hand so was pleased to connect with this possibly once in a lifetime opportunity.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very nice Marc and good to see you had a lot more sunshine than I managed on Wednesday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks Bob. If only I could have had the sun behind me, these shots may have been better. Still, lovely to see them.

      Delete
  4. These are the best images I've seen to date,stunning photography Marc.
    John.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks John. Wish I was nearer and sun behind me but just enjoyed the experience. Lodged in the 'Hawfinch memory days.

      Delete
  5. One up on me Marc, I've never seen one in 80 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you're going to change that, this is the year to make it happen. Search out your local churchyard and Yew trees.

      Delete
  6. Very enviable images, Marc! I hope you have a great week off work and the weather allows you to make the most of it. With my best wishes - - - Richard

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks Richard. Hopefully out doing a bit of netting,birding and starting to prepare a few tanks for the season which is not too far away now.

      Delete
  7. Great going, Marc. Really like that final, backward glance shot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks Lucy for your visit and comment. Much appreciated.

      Delete
  8. Beautiful Hawfinches Marc, standing proud in the trees.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks Bob. Stunning birds and a sight i won't forget in a hurry.

      Delete
  9. Nice results Marc, a worthwhile morning with some lovely light.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks Steve. A morning I won't forget. Lovely weather and birds showing nicely. Ticks all the boxes.

      Delete