Thursday 27 January 2011

Magic Moment

As I drift towards retirement from a life of slaving over sleeping students. I seem to find myself spending more time finding opportunities to go and visit the boat. Today for lunch in stead of walking around the city centre, I jumped on the Sheffield SuperTram and paid a visit to the Marina where Rosie is moored.

As I walked up the towpath, I saw a small flock of birds fluttering along in the hedgerow. I saw the odd flash of what looked like a faded red colour. 

At first I thought it was a group of Chaffinch. The Chaffinch is a very attractive and colourful member of the finch family.

I noticed that one or two of the birds had a white rump. So I slowed my pace and proceeded to creep forward into a better position. I knew that it was not Chaffinch when I saw the bird had a jet-black cap to the head.

It took me a while to realise it was a large group of female Bullfinch. I held my breath when a couple of male Bullfinch came into view. Just about 20 ft away from where I was standing. I have never seem more than six in a group before. I estimate that there were around twenty females and four males.

Creeping closer, I was spellbound. After a while something disturbed them and they flew off over the marina and disappeared into a good sized thicket of trees and scrub. 

Going back to work later, my thoughts were full of these amazing birds. They are a very rare find just a few miles from a city centre location. The recent hard weather must have driven them along the canal in search of seeds that are their primary food source.

I was reminded of the last small group of Bullfinch that I saw was also along the canal bank. That was in February last year whilst cruising on the North Oxford close to Hillmorton. Click Link


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