Magnificent seven

A day of rain, then a day of sleet turning to snow. The following day gave a beautiful but frozen morning of ice and lying snow beneath a golden sun. A surprise was fallen trees blocking paths in two places, but then in the winter arable fields – winter grass growing tall on stubble and ice-covered furrows filled with small wild plants – a bunting or two seen going into the hawthorn and blackthorn and on closer inspection a cold weather roost of 100 Reed buntings and 45 Yellowhammers – the buntings flying out in droves from the thick thorns and frozen ground as I walked the field. Some Snipe up as well.

Along the Holly banks Redwings again, this time more widespread, filtering along the shaws and hedgetops after berries. On to North’s Seat and finding Redwings in numbers in the hedge, now joined by a small number of Fieldfares, uncharacteristically unobtrusive in the lower branches of Holly.

Today a cold northerly wind and finding Redwings casually about the town, fifteen flying over my central flat and a dozen together straggling past the Pilot Field. Others in gardens here and there all over St Helens and eighty or more Starlings.

A walk into the cemetery was rewarded with the sight of no less than seven Hawfinches. I had gone in to see if the Redwings were still in numbers there and saw a single Hawfinch flying towards Coghurst, but then at the Yews a party of three flew out and perched in a bare Birch. Then there were three couples all in view together, in bare branches and later a flock of five including two bright males which patrolled the area.

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