Winter Bird Report by John Sheppard

Hawfinches by John Sheppard

This is the first of the year’s quarterly reports by former villager John Sheppard (see previous post).

John writes:

This is a difficult time for birds and wildlife in general. The potentially cold weather combined with diminishing supplies of food put many species under pressure. I’m sure many of you will have noticed an increase in the numbers of birds at your feeders during this time. You may also have noticed a few new species showing up.

More details and photographs in “read the rest of this entry”.






Siskin and Brambling are two that can show up unexpectedly. What you may not be aware of is that some of the more common birds that we are used to seeing in the UK are migrants, particularly Blackbird and Robin. They come here from Scandinavia and Northern Europe in search of a relatively milder winter.






In addition to these more common species Redwing and Fieldfare are also regular winter visitors and can often be seen seeking out haws along the hedgerows. Certain conditions in Northern Europe, mainly a lack of berries, also forces these two very special species to come to the UK in search of food. This does not happen every year but when it does it raises the possibility of viewing a very special bird or two.






Waxwing are a spectacular species with many features that make them particularly attractive. Their particular favourite is Rowan berries. They are named after a small waxy looking patch seen on their wings. This year we have had an influx of a bird that is not commonly seen here but has turned up in surprising numbers, the Hawfinch. They have been seen in many locations, frequently around churchyards, presumably seeking out berries. Their very powerful beak is normally used for cracking cherry stones but they will adapt and eat other food.






Keep your eyes peeled when you are out and about but just in case you are unlucky enjoy the pictures of them I have attached.

John Sheppard

Especially this one (ed).


Siskin and Hawfinch



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