Thursday, 28 October 2010

Reinforcements for the Bramblings, Bowland, Lancashire

October 27, 2010:
Last week's Brambling flock has increased several-fold and there must be up to a hundred birds there now with a few Chaffinches mixed in. Feeding hungrily on the ground on the fallen beech mast they are difficult to see amongst the golden brown leaves already starting to drop, the birds' plumage providing excellent camouflage. They seem to have learnt traffic sense since last week as the majority fed away from the road on the grass verge although the few that still risked it left it late when escaping oncoming vehicles.

The dim light under the trees and their rapid movement when feeding made them difficult to photograph satisfactorily and it was especially difficult to get them into sharp focus. When disturbed by noisy traffic the entire flock, Chaffinches included, would fly off in a tight group and take refuge in one of the nearby trees. However within less than a minute the first brave individual would be down again feeding and almost immediately the whole flock would come tumbling after it.

A nearby ditch came into use as a bathing pool with up to thirty birds in the icy water at one time, all happily splashing and preening.

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