Monday 23 October 2017


A small flock of Brambling put in an appearance yesterday morning. They seemed to be spending time in a community vegetable plot which is located in the corner of a cereal field over the road from Tense Towers. I guess the combination of discarded seeds from the cereal crop and invertebrates tucked away amongst the brassicas probably feels like a motorway service station to a flock of hungry birds on migration.

When they perched on the fence by the vegetable plot, we counted at least seven individuals, although I couldn't capture a photograph of more then six at any one time. It was a grand sight, though, as I don't believe we've ever seen this many Bramblings all at once.

I was a bit miffed that the RSPB distribution map didn't acknowledge the possibility of Bramblings occurring in Orkney on passage. Perhaps the birds' normal route to the UK in the Autumn is to fly south from Scandinavia and then head westwards across the North Sea, rather than the more direct route taking in Shetland, Fair Isle and Orkney? Or maybe the strong easterly winds we've been experiencing had blown the flock slightly off course?

Either way, calmer conditions in the afternoon probably enabled the well-fed Bramblings to continue their southwards migration, as we did not see them again. Readers in the rest of the UK may want to check their bird tables and Chaffinch flocks for imminent arrivals!

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