Friday, 10 November 2017

Hawfinch and Crane...

...sound like a Dickensian firm of solicitors but are, in fact, the birding highlights, for me, of the past week. To start with the former I was beginning to despair of getting in on the Hawfinch invasion with the levels being a Hornbeam free area and my garden flyovers being limited to Goldfinch, Siskin, and Redwing at the moment, so when Charlie started to see a few in Abbots Wood I decided to take a wander over on the 3rd. Now Abbots is a big wood and the cover is pretty thick so I decided to head over towards a clearing Charlie had mentioned, however as I approached the lake I noticed a conspicuous finch atop the conifers. Sure enough, on raising the bins a Hawfinch! Not crippling views as the record shots below testify, but my first in East Sussex for a good number of years.

Sunday, the 5th, I took an early morning walk around the same area with Sharon and the dogs and had excellent views of 2 birds in the clearing near the main conifer plantation accessed from the car park, and a further 5 flyovers. In addition a Crossbill was in the main conifer plantation.
The levels have been pretty good with a 2nd cy male Hen Harrier being seen occassionally, by me on both the 22nd and 29th October, and my first SEO of the winter near Lookers on the evening of the 1st November. Undoubted highlight though was the juvenile Crane found by Mike Mullis on the evening of the 8th. Thanks to a text from Mike I was able to grab a very poor scope view in near darkness but as always with such things it was very unsatisfactory, daylight saving time has a lot to answer for! So it was that I arose early on the 9th and wandered out to Lookers pre dawn, as I stood there in the crisp morning air watching the first fingers of light reaching up in the east I became aware that the Crane was only about 100 yards or so from me rather than the half mile it had been the previous evening! Fortunately it didn't seem overly bothered by my presence and I spent roughly an hour watching it preening and stretching its wings before it decided to head off south towards the west of the wind farm. I managed to get quite a few digiscoped shots a few of which are reproduced below as well as the one above.

The bird was un-rung and there is a reasonable chance, as Mike and others have speculated, that it may have been a genuine wanderer rather than a re-introduced bird, either way always great to see and will hopefully settle into a pattern as others have done here in the past.
Finally to moths and, pretty much as expected, things have quietened down radically as the temperature has fallen, however there have been a few goodies. My second garden Gem appeared at the window on the 27th October, a putitive Pale November moth on the night of the 31st, and on the 3rd November a single Cypress Carpet (pictured below) and a Chestnut. Watchout! Winter is coming!

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