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Purple on the rocks

  I have the real pleasure of writing my first blog post of 2022 about a trip to Battery Point, Portishead, Bristol to photograph Purple Sandpipers (Calidris Maritima). As many of my readers will know I love waders probably above all bird species and so when I had the opportunity to get some pictures with my good friend Paul Joy of this rare, specially protected and very confiding wader species that winters in the UK coastland I was really excited. Up until this point I had never seen a Purple Sandpiper. They are small waders, bigger than a Dunlin but slightly smaller and less robust than a Turnstone.  They migrate to the UK in the winter from as far away places as Canada, Greenland, Svalbard, Fennoscandia and Russia. They then spend their time along the coasts roosting and feeding on various rocky outcrops. They have a preference for rocks covered with seaweeds where they forage for insects, molluscs and crustaceans. They get their names because of a Purple sheen that can be seen in t

Sunday Prayers for a Hawfinch

This morning the sun broke through the clouds for a change so I decided to go and visit my local church - it was Sunday after all.

Church yards are mini wildlife havens and are always good for bird watching as they tend to be quiet places.

Traditionally Yew Trees are planted around church and grave yards. They are thought to ward of evil spirits.

These ever green trees have red berries at this time of year which whilst very poisonous to people , certain birds species love them.

One of these bird species - the Hawfinch has a particular penchant for Yew berries and I was quietly praying they may be in the location.

I was not disappointed, my prayers were answered. Soon after waiting around in the early morning sunshine I noticed a small flock high up in some Alder Trees looking down at me from afar.

They then began to descend into nearby Yew Tree that had plenty of berries on it.

Hawfinches are large big billed finches that migrate from Northern Europe to warmer climates during the winter.

These finches are wary of people and getting a close photograph is very difficult.

I am pleased with the photographs I got.

The Hawfinches also had company from Greenfiches, Goldfinches, Redwings and Mistle Thrushes.

I visited twice during the day and as the light began to dim a Sparrow Hawk circled overhead and everything left the church yard for cover.

I really must go to church more often, someone up there must be listening :)


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