With only two posts in the last six weeks, it’s about time I got this blog going again! Suzanne and I had been planning to spend Christmas in the States, Texas to be precise, but thanks to BAA’s utter incompetence we ended up in north-east Wales instead. No disrespect to Suzanne’s side of the family – we had an absolutely fantastic time, getting some proper rest and relaxation – but it was something of a disappointment given our expectations.
Although overnight temperatures were dropping to around –18 Celsius, I did get out for a little bit of birding here and there. The highlight was a few hours spent at Venus Pool, near Shrewsbury, where I witnessed a huge flock of finches, sparrows and buntings on a couple of winter cover crops (maybe quinoa?). The number of Brambling was certainly the highest I’ve seen in one place – 500 is a very conservative count. This photo illustrates just a tiny portion of the flock:
With Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch mixed in, plus at least 100 Yellowhammer and a few Tree Sparrows thrown in for good measure, I reckoned there were getting on for 1500 passerines swirling around. Hardly a surprise that two Sparrowhawks were in close attendance, then. In the cold weather, some of the birds posed fairly well for photos, although a bit of winter sunshine would have made all the difference.