One of my all time favourite birds is the hawfinch.
Over the years whenever I have searched for them , I somehow always seemed to miss them.
The place where I always seemed to fail to see these wonderful birds was the New Forest in Hampshire.
So just before Christmas I decided it was about time I tried again , seeing as I had heard they were quite close by in Hertfordshire.
I set off one cloudy Saturday morning to St Andrew’s Church Bramfield , Herts in the hope of spotting one.
I was surprised on arrival that there was not any other birdwatchers around , I stood wondering if I was in the right place for a while.
My camera was still in the case , when I noticed a bird in a small cherry tree at the front of the church wall.
The tree was only small and about ten metres away from me and I could only just stare in amazement when I realised it was a hawfinch but I was not even prepared for it.
Wow , what a finch !
Fantastic colours and markings and a beak that could crack through any seed.
Now I realised what I loved about this bird.
It certainly lived up to all my expectations.
I quickly rushed into action in getting the camera set up but a minute later and it was sadly gone.
Bramfield Churchyard – rear view , showing the lime and yew trees in the summer.
The Church and the lime tree row in the winter.
I had the camera set up now and I had been waiting for a good two hours with nothing of note turning up at the churchyard apart from a few different finches and a nuthatch.
Then suddenly I could see two birds right at the top of the lime trees in the centre of the churchyard and they were hawfinches.
I quickly tried to take a few pictures of these fantastic birds.
The lime trees were very tall and a good distance away so I was having to use the camera at full zoom but I was savouring every minute of them.
After 10 minutes or so they flew off , right above my head , across the road and into the old rectory garden.
This garden is full of beautiful yew trees and lots of other trees providing great cover for the birds.
Sadly I could not spot them in the garden as they were too well hidden and they did not return for the duration I was waiting.
However , I was so thrilled to finally tick this bird off my list so to speak.
I may not have captured any really good pictures of them but was just delighted to have finally seen one.
I just kept thinking , what if I was prepared properly and ready when that first bird appeared ?
I guess that this was a lesson well learnt and seeing as I had only used my camera for a few days up until then , it was all part of the learning experience.
I enjoyed my day there so much , I hope to return over Easter and maybe I might come home with a better capture this time ?
To me though , just to see them for a second time would be fantastic.
Hawfinch in a lime tree.