Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Brambling.

Buzzard. David Cookson.

Not a Brambling, but a stunning photograph of a stunning bird in flight. Please take at look at DC's WEBSITE for more photography of this calibre. Thanks David.

Finding at least 80 Brambling yesterday near Tower Lodge in the Trough of Bowland was something of a surprise if only because I've seen very few reports of the species anywhere in the county as yet this winter, but it's early days though not so for the Waxwing of which there appears to be thousands of them.

The Brambling breeds in a broad band stretching from Norway in the west, through Russia to the shores of the Bering Sea. The birds have a strong preference to beechmast as a food source and is less of a farmland bird than it's close relative the Chaffinch. Wintering flocks in Britain have usually dispersed to the continent by mid-April though there may be occasional stragglers, early autumn migrants, or even the results of nesting attempts during June-August, the nesting records of which I have little knowledge though I do know of some breeding in Scotland without ever establishing a permanent presence there.

It's pretty sad that in the 21st century we can read of a good number of ringing recoveries being related to birds having been shot or trapped, a good example of which is, of eleven recoveries in Italy all but one bird had been the victim of hunting by humans of some sort. Another example of the misfortunes of the Brambling - though this one natural - is that unlike the Chaffinch which migrates mainly by day, Brambling movements are often nocturnal which can leave exhausted birds grounded along the east coast of Britain during the day having made what appears to be a direct crossing of the North Sea in the autumn.

Taking into account the reality of global warming and milder winters across Central and Northern Europe you have to wonder if numbers of Brambling wintering in Britain will diminish as they become able to find enough food further north.




Warren Baker said...

Thousands of Waxwings ! wish one would pop up here.

Pete Woodruff said...

Yes unfortunate they haven't got down there yet Warren. I'll check out in due course exactly how far south they've got.