Monday, April 21, 2008

It's a virtue, you know.

OK, here's the scenario. I really wanted to get some more pictures of them. They are such cracking birds. I called them regal in a flight of fancy in a previous posting but that's not quite right. Anyway, After 2 weekends when I couldn't get into the Forest, and having failed the 2 weekends before that, the internet weather forecast for a day when I was off wasn't exactly encouraging. No change there then. However at least the cloud symbols didn't have little dots falling from them, so off I went around dawn.

After 3 and a half hours in the hide I hadn't seen a single bird. Literally. Honestly. Nothing. Not even a flitting shadow. I'd heard them, and even heard my target, but nothing to see. I ended up photographing squirrels again, trying to get pictures other than those cute 'tail up and having a nibble' shots.

Then 2 chaffinches came down. And went. Back to the squirrels. And then I happened to look over the lens and what did I see looking straight back at me?

Amazing. For a big bird I had heard nothing. Taking off they sound like starlings, but I've noticed on a number of occasions now that they can be quite sneaky when they appear. Anyway he seemed quite unperturbed, and hopped around for several minutes before disappearing -never to be seen again. Shame the light wasn't better, but on looking at these I'll add a touch of brightness before adding to my photo gallery. You could try clicking on these pictures for a better view, but I'd recommend looking at the photo gallery (link to the right) - the pictures are much clearer.

What doesn't show so well in these pictures are the lovely blue feathers that angle out over the rump.

They're the result of primaries shaped like billhooks, and to me are the final crowning glories of this fabulous bird, the hawfinch. As I said earlier regal doesn't do them justice. In a further literary flight of fancy I'd go for imperial - go on, can't you just see him wearing a laurel wreath!

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