40/365 – A Change from the Norm

Heading back to a past life when I was a cartoonist providing a chuckle in both national newspapers and magazines. This one was in the Sun a UK newspaper.

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Oh No I Think I’m a Twitcher

“A twitcher is someone who will go to great lengths to view new bird species. For some twitchers their pursuit can turn into an obsession and can involve extensive travel, dedicated monitoring of birding hotspots and networking with other twitchers.”

I had to travel down South for work this weekend and I had read that almost on my route, there was one of the influx of Hawfinches, so I thought why not go and try and see it as they are a pretty rare bird normally. Last year we had a massive influx of Waxwings into the UK and this year a similar number of Hawfinch have arrived, and as with the waxwing I’d never seen one. Unfortunately the weather was dreadful so the images don’t do this stunning bird justice.

Hawfinch

Hawfinch

The hawfinch is the UK’s largest and rarest finch with a small resident population which are usually difficult to spot. This resident population have been joined this winter by thousands from the continent where crops of their usual food is in short supply.

Perching hawfinch

Perching hawfinch

It was easy to spot where the bird was as it has attracted a small crowd and so I guess I became a twitcher. They are quite a chunky bird compared to the usual finches we see in the UK but it is their remarkable conical beak which makes them stand out. This beak can exert immense force which allows them to crack seeds other birds can’t use. They are able to crack a cherry stone, which if you’ve ever bitten one will know they are a tough nut to crack!

Hawfinch feeding

Hawfinch feeding

Compared to the pictures I got of the waxwings last year these are a bit disappointing but as we Twitchers say, “It’s a tick”.