On Saturday I braved the cold spell and trudged up to Wheata Wood for a wintry walk. My mission was to squint through the mixed feeding flock of finches and buntings to find a brambling or two. It was easy to find the flock in its usual place, flitting between the woodland edge and the adjacent fields and dry stone walls.
As before the main species was chaffinch, of which there were probably around 40 or so, with a good number of yellowhammers, with at least 15 present on Saturday morning.
Careful squinting also revealed the odd reed bunting among them, with at least one male and two females in the midst of the flock.
A couple of goldfinches were around, as well as at least one lesser redpoll calling overhead, but no signs of bramblings. However just as I was about to give up a passing walker told me she’d see two there a few days earlier, so I decided to hang around a bit longer. I managed to get into the heart of the feeding flock without flushing them, and after a long, freezing wait a rather smart brambling appeared right in front of me. I quietly got the camera from my man bag to get a shot, but sadly at this very moment I heard a loud yapping from my feet, and a tiny but annoying dog decided this was the moment to start getting affronted by presence… the brambling remained but flew high into the trees, meaning these were the best pics I got…
As well as the finches and buntings the fields also contained a couple of hundred woodpigeon, and a large flock of feral pigeons that probably numbered 150 or so, that kept taking flight as one and making a surprisingly loud clatter as they took off. A walk back through Greno Wood turned up loads of goldcrests (I counted at least 10), and a couple of redpoll.