Having spent another hour this morning trying to will in a Hawfinch to the garden feeders, I got tired of waiting and started to make other plans.
Nothing wrong with the garden of course – stacks of finches, female Blackcap still, Blackbirds, Jackdaws and Song Thrushes, and another garden tick today – an overflying Black Tailed Godwit to complement the startled Little Egret that was blown in briefly like a storm-tossed Tesco bag while Emma was flashing her petticoats about on Thursday.
The six marvellous Hawfinches that flew past me at Marshside in October feel a long time ago now, and to be honest I thought I might have seen more in this winter’s huge invasion, but they are thin on the ground our way (and completely invisible at Dempsey Towers, despite the numerous prayers, seeds and incantations).
So I decided to pop down the M57 to Stadt Moers Park to look for the two Chris Tynan found earlier in the year.
Chris has seen ’em a few times since, so I thought they were worth a punt.
I stopped off to officially welcome spring with flowering Lesser Celandines on the mosses, then moved on south.
Although these birds favour a small copse immediately to the right of the Halsnead Avenue entrance to the park in Prescot/Whiston they took a bit of digging out.
As usual these big finches are unobtrusive at best, and seriously flighty, especially when there are plenty of Saturday afternoon dog walkers in the park.
Early morning may be better.
Pleasant enough strolling around the park looking for them though, with Buzzards, Lapwing Bullfinch and Fieldfare, commoner finches and titmice.
It was a dark, grey, cold afternoon, and I was numb in the nether regions long before I began to hear that weird loud, yet oddly muffled, “pijk pijk pijk” call and the bruisers flew in.
Why do Hawfinches sound like they are calling from a parallel universe (or at least from another room)?
No chance of a close approach of course, these things are way too wary for that, but by standing a good distance back against the woodland edge, they came up into the upper branches of the small copse and the female even sat still long enough for me to take some rubbishy zoom shots in the gloom.
Fine birds, especially only 20 minutes or so from home – I wonder how many others are still lurking undiscovered in similar woodland/parks?