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Sunday, 15 January 2012

A Mega at Cold Comfort Farm...? Wyre Forest 14th January 2012

A damned hard frost had descended overnight, and it was -4°C when I cranked up the motor to head the 10 miles or so down to the Wyre Forest. The light was looking good, my only worry was if there was fog lurking down in that there river valley that is Dowles Brook. I seem to be filled with completely unfounded optimism.

Fog free but freezing I headed down the path towards Lodge Hill Farm, hoping for something decent like Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Hawfinch or at least a Brambling. It was cold. It's well accepted this neck of the woods can be very hit or miss. As I made my way I noted the expected sightings of Blue,Great and Long Tailed Tit, as well as hearing Nuthatch.It was bloody cold.

The orchard area around the farm house was not exactly chuffin with birds. Save for the addition of a Song Thrush singing ( see video) , a Greater Spotted Woodpecker, and a passing Sparrowhawk I was struggling. However the frost had a pleasing effect on the surrounding, and I was happy snapping the scenery and the odd bird. Unfortunately I discovered later that my lens had steamed for a couple of my best shots  ! Grrr!

A finchlike bird in the tree canopy caught my eye, feeding alone, it had a white head ..Unusual...could only think of Snow Bunting with such an appearance, unless it was a rare yanky vagrant !

Know what it is yet ?

The bird was fairly settled,feeding high in the tallest tree. I edged closer gradually somewhat thrown initially as to what I was looking at. Eventually I came to the conclusion I thought I knew what it was, and got a few record shots as best as possible from distance. I rarely get a phone signal down that neck of the woods, so it was just as well I was reasonably happy I had not fell upon a Mega.Having to work without gloves, frostbite was now setting in, and I abandoned my original plan to do the circular route encompassing Dowles Brook, instead I scout marched for the car, the heater and a flask of coffee.

Anyway, back to that bird. it's a pigmentally challenged Chaffinch. It has distinct white areas in it's plumage, is generally paler, and has a pale pinky bill, but a black eye. I'm not going into the issues of Leucism and Albinism, the more you read about it in birding the more you realise it is not a black and white area !


  1. Was it cold out :-) Strange Chaffinch indeed!

  2. I may have mentioned it was a tad parky ;) Adding Red Legged Partridge to the year list on the way home was the other highlight

  3. Thats an interesting Song Thrush video. It is def mimicking Dunnock to start with, followed by a bit of Robin before somr=e normal Thrush repetition and some more strange sounds that sound like a caged parakeet (I wonder if John has got onein his house at lodge hill that it has mimicked)...interesting recording mate

  4. Nice and sunny, dry, crisp and even down there ystda - had displaying Raven, territorial Buzzards and a few Marsh Tits, river now back down to reasonable levels but no Dipper this time, just Grey Wag.

    Laurie -

  5. Jase it certainly threw me initially trying to locate it, I heard Marsh Tit before locating the Thrush, but saw no sign of Marsh Tit either.
    Laurie, I briefly checked the car park area of the brook but only saw Coal tit of any note Satuurday