I have had a couple of good garden birds over the last week or so. A neighbour has an old apple tree and it has been visited occasionally by a single Fieldfare, and this has been seen on our Rowan. More expected, but a very welcome visitor is the Song Thrush. We used to see them but the national decline meant that visits became increasingly rare, and now I am lucky to get one or two visits a year. They are still around, singing in the woods but our gardens don't seem to be attractive to them.
Following local reports, I paid a morning visit to Danemead reserve in Broxbourne Wood, which looks to be a very nice place for butterflies and orchids. Hawfinch are seen here from time to time and have been pretty regular over the last few days.
I arrived a bit later than expected, and immediately bumped into a large finch flock feeding on the ground. Predominantly Chaffinch and Redwing, I saw several large dumpy finches fly through but could not locate them. A bit further down to the reserve gate a loud tec led me to a Hawfinch sitting in a tree, but it suddenly flew off. A walk through the sheep field and into damp woodland did not produce Woodcock, though a flock of about twenty Redwing and plenty of tits, Robins and Wrens was nice. I returned to the main path (Ermine Street) and met another birder. He had arrived just after two plus Hawfinch had been watched for about half an hour, and shortly after, Joan Thompson and others arrived. I spent the rest of the time wandering Ermine Street, meeting up with various others, including Jan Hein van Steenis who had arrived after twitching the Dusky Warbler, and Alan Reynolds.
Despite our efforts, the Hawfinch did not show again until 1pm-twenty minutes after I left. Jan got a few images-posted on the Herts Birding Yahoo group.