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UK Hawfinch occurence last weekend....?

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Old Tuesday 17th October 2017, 13:23   #26
Nutcracker
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An invasion could be good news for the British breeding population, as I have understood this tends to be boosted by European immigrants (of course I can't find a source for that on-line...)
That would be good news, except I've not heard of any up this end of the country yet
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Old Tuesday 17th October 2017, 15:15   #27
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Echo the poor summer and berry crop here...you'll have a WaxyWinter I predict...
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Old Wednesday 18th October 2017, 02:25   #28
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Ken is referring to Grey Squirrel as carolinensis. Its Scientific name is Sciurus carolinensis. As a result, he is suggesting that the Hawfinch decline is as a result of predation by Grey Squirrel.

All the best
Thanks a lot, Paul! As I suspected, I missed something simple.
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Old Wednesday 18th October 2017, 12:20   #29
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Another four on my patch today - heading south
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Old Wednesday 18th October 2017, 14:43   #30
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I started a quick scan of other sights in France

Peuch Debon is one place with some history of this species although data isn't 100% complete.

This year they have also passed 2,000 birds witht he peak in the first week of October (although still counting). Previous high counts have always been 2nd and 3rd decades in October.

Point D'Aguillon - very hit and miss but only one year with any numbers of any note and the peak week was beginning of November...

It does point to any early movement in this species - haven't compared against other birds yet. Interesting.

Still waiting to bag some round here. Usually get a few overwintering.
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Old Wednesday 18th October 2017, 15:59   #31
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If it's due to a shortage of their usual food sources, I suppose it's too much to hope that these notoriously fussy eaters may get the hint and realise that they are finches with massive bills that could eat pretty much anything if they were so inclined.
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Old Wednesday 18th October 2017, 16:25   #32
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If it's due to a shortage of their usual food sources, I suppose it's too much to hope that these notoriously fussy eaters may get the hint and realise that they are finches with massive bills that could eat pretty much anything if they were so inclined.
If I remember rightly, they're listed as eating seeds of around 90 different species of trees and shrubs

It's just that some years, everything has a duff crop - it doesn't happen often but it can. One cause is an abnormal late spring frost, just one cold night can kill the flowers of most plants.
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Old Wednesday 18th October 2017, 17:05   #33
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I suppose we'll never know, unless a few ringing returns can perhaps suggest a "crude" point of origin, I would have to assume rightly or wrongly that this food "driven" movement, is from a "given area" within the cline, i.e. how far South, North or East...whence they've come?

FWIW...perhaps as support to Nutcrackers comment regarding "late frost", I note that in Mountfort's Hawfinch monograph....between June and December, Cultivated Cherry is one of the more regular and preferred crops during this period, and can be subject to extensive damage in late Spring.

Last edited by KenM : Wednesday 18th October 2017 at 17:41. Reason: Additional data
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Old Wednesday 18th October 2017, 17:48   #34
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If I remember rightly, they're listed as eating seeds of around 90 different species of trees and shrubs

It's just that some years, everything has a duff crop - it doesn't happen often but it can. One cause is an abnormal late spring frost, just one cold night can kill the flowers of most plants.
Could well be. There was a strong late frost (sometimes below 10 C) in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany (and who knows further afield). Apples suffered badly and it's a very bad year for Rowan. Hawthorn, sloe and Guelder Rose look OK. Come to think of it I haven't seen any maple seeds... a Hawfinch staple. Must look tomorrow!
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 00:21   #35
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I know our usual local wintering birds one had a ring on 2 winters back and was found to have come from the forest of dean
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 07:25   #36
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I know our usual local wintering birds one had a ring on 2 winters back and was found to have come from the forest of dean
Shouldn't need a ring to see that it comes from the 'forest' just count the number of bills...
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 10:01   #37
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I know our usual local wintering birds one had a ring on 2 winters back and was found to have come from the forest of dean
An interesting record! I imagine there are few Hawfinch returns from within the UK...not being the easiest bird to gain proximity to, and generally fairly scarce and local. I presume returns on the continent being greater?

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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 12:39   #38
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If I remember rightly, they're listed as eating seeds of around 90 different species of trees and shrubs
That makes their particular nature even harder to understand.
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 13:36   #39
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A single male on the bird table here for the last couple of weeks - which is not that unusual, but not heard of any big flocks locally. Round here they seem to favour beech and hornbeam.
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 17:06   #40
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That makes their particular nature even harder to understand.
It means that places with reduced woody plant diversity (Britain, and even more, Ireland) have fewer Hawfinches than places with higher woody plant diversity.

In Europe, woody plant diversity is highest in the Balkans, and Hawfinches are ridiculously common there, compared to what we are used to
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 21:08   #41
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The Dutch migration record for Hawfinch was broken this week: 266 over The Hague on 16 October.
http://www.trektellen.nl/count/view/...nguage=english
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 21:52   #42
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The Dutch migration record for Hawfinch was broken this week: 266 over The Hague on 16 October.
http://www.trektellen.nl/count/view/...nguage=english
.....makes you wonder what the previous Hague 'one day' record count was ?
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Old Friday 20th October 2017, 05:11   #43
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.....makes you wonder what the previous Hague 'one day' record count was ?
1277 over the last 10 years with 459 this year, so far
http://www.trektellen.nl/site/yeartotals/28/2017
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Old Friday 20th October 2017, 09:05   #44
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1277 over the last 10 years with 459 this year, so far
http://www.trektellen.nl/site/yeartotals/28/2017
Thanks for that rosbifs, Hawfinches to one side for the moment. The Hague data has proved most illuminating!....a five fold increase on YBW between 2013 and 2014! and just 2 records of Common Nightingale in 2009 over the same period as YBW 2008-2017. From my perspective, too much of a coincidence, as I also recorded both species in Central London during the "same" years as the Hague's, the only difference being that both my records were rejected, even though I supplied images of the latter! Clearly the Dutch are more enlightened, in future I'll send my records to the Dutch...as they appear to be less "risk" averse.

Back to topic...another two Hawfinches within a flock of circa a dozen Chaffinches yesterday (didn't know that they "mixed?") heading North East.

PS has anybody else noted Hawfinch flying with other finches?

Cheers
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Old Friday 20th October 2017, 19:57   #45
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I checked the local maples today: no fruit at all. I would leave too if I were a Hawfinch!
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Old Saturday 21st October 2017, 14:44   #46
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PS has anybody else noted Hawfinch flying with other finches?

Cheers
My three lots (1, 3, 4) were all either alone (species wise) or with Skylarks in the last instance - though I think that was coincidental to a raptor reaction.
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Old Saturday 21st October 2017, 15:11   #47
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My three lots (1, 3, 4) were all either alone (species wise) or with Skylarks in the last instance - though I think that was coincidental to a raptor reaction.
Yes...all of my previous sightings have been single through the digits up to 6 (in flight), never with other finches, except when found ground feeding with other finches (Green/Chaff and Bramblings).
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Old Sunday 29th October 2017, 17:24   #48
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We are also having unprecented numbers of Hawfinches passing bythis fall..large flocks have been seen around Barcelona ,along with Siskins...both species are unusual in these numbers...
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Old Sunday 29th October 2017, 17:26   #49
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Week before last saw a flock of over 20 fly over me in southern Spain while we were sitting by a stream near farmland. Not sure how normal these are here?

Caught up with 2 to the west of London today + a possible 3 (distant in poor light) yesterday.
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Old Monday 30th October 2017, 00:23   #50
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I checked the local maples today: no fruit at all. I would leave too if I were a Hawfinch!
I checked local (southeast Northumbs) tree seed crops today; on a scale 0-10 where 0=zero crop and 10=bumper crop:
Ash 0
Beech 2
Hornbeam 4
Lime 3
Maple 5
Yew 6

So not good amounts of seed, but enough to feed some Hawfinches for at least the first part of the winter. Yet still none around here yet.
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