bird behaviour, Sketchbook

Hawfinch in Westwood, Wiltshire 28th December.

A walk around Westwood, Wiltshire with my good birding friend Robert Kelsh and our families was notable for some super sightings of a Hawfinch, flushed at first from a hedge near the church. It was feeding on field maple seeds and quickly descended for more. We had some very clear views though the light was rather dull in the mild, misty conditions. For a time it sat at the top of an ash tree dwarfing the Goldfinches around it. Then it took to the air giving us great views of its bulky form on bounding flight. It was great to become well acquainted with a Hawfinch again- they are birds of great character and not easy to find. They are also fun to draw and like Puffins their oversized bills make them look like cartoon character birds. However if you hold one they are no joke for that bill can crush cherry stones, an evolutionary masterpiece. There were many Redwings and Fieldfares in the pastures making the most of unfrozen damp ground. We also had good views of a female Green Woodpecker, Marsh Tits, Yellowhammers, Treecreeeper and Goldcrests.

Hawfinch at Westwood, Wiltshire- pencil in sketchbook
Hawfinch- watercolour in sketchbook painted in Westwood in 2005. A very similar bird to the one seen today.

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