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Waiting for change

February 6, 2011

Strong warm westerly winds bring about changes. Although a few stragglers may remain, it seems that the majority of the winter thrushes (Redwings and Fieldfares) have move back towards their summer quarters. I assume that they are in transit to Scandinavia assisted by a strong tail wind.

The resident thrushes which remain have yet to settle into their breeding territories.  I listen out for the first sign – usually a Mistle Thrush adopts the height of dead Elm near Street Farm as the venue for the early spring song. So far it has not arrived, but it cannot be long. The Mistle Thrush has a strong fluting song for which seems to select the windiest days – perhaps is a week or twos time.

The large flocks of finches appear to have broken up. So much of the anticipation of Spring is derived from what is no longer happening. As I always remember, at migration time it is much easier to spot the first arrival than it is to record the last time you saw one.

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River finches

October 31, 2010

Flocks of finches are concentrated around the Alder trees along the Bure.

Goldfinches and Linnets are constantly on the move and the contact calls form a constant chiming backdrop to a river walk. They exist under an ever- present threat. The attention of the ragged-looking Sparrowhawk is constant. Sitting watchfully at the top a convenient Hawthorn bush, the predator is concentrating on it’s task so completely that it fails to register our approach. Startled, there is the noise of thorn-ripped feathers as the hawk escapes, flies low and fast to the sanctuary of nearby scrub. Meanwhile, the finches flit seemingly unconcerned from tree to tree.