Sunday, 1 February 2015

A Migrant Hawfinch at Bramfield Village

 30th January 2015

In the winter of 2012/2013 up to nine Hawfinches were regularly seen in an around the churchyard at Bramfield Village in Hertfordshire. It wasn't known whether these were from an unknown local breeding population, migrants from elsewhere in the UK or even from the continent. In the 2013/2014 winter no birds appeared, but on the 20th January 2015 five birds were seen for the first time during this winter and I was able to get this shot as one perched at the top of an Ash tree. The following day the number of birds had risen to eight.

On the 30th January I decided to go to the churchyard to try out my new camera and managed to get some shots of a single female bird and was reasonably happy with the result despite the rather poor light. The bird was feeding on seeds high in a Yew tree and was partially obscured by the foliage but a reasonable shot nevertheless.

It was only when I was processing some of the other shots where the bird was not obscured that I noticed that the bird was ringed, not with one ring but two, an aluminium ring above a yellow colour ring on the left leg. It was not possible to see if there were further rings on the right leg. I passed the information to Ken Smith, Chairman of the Herts Bird Club, who after a few enquiries found out that the bird had been ringed by Jerry Lewis in April 2011 in the Lower Wye Valley near Chepstow, and one of just 11 birds ringed with that particular colour combination.

So, for this particular individual at least, we now can assume that it not a local breeding bird but a winter migrant and will have to keep our eyes peeled for more rings.


  1. great shots..what is your new camera?

  2. Ha...thats on my want list! I'm going to to the US in April..might check the prices out there.