Bumper year for avian nutcracker

December 10, 2017

Hawfinch is never an easy bird to see, being particularly wary, but this year has seen unusual numbers of this elusive finch across parts of Europe. In the UK The British Trust for Ornithology saw a 12% increase in observations submitted to their online system BirdTrack. They were popping up everywhere, and in good numbers. Even the media found this a worthy story to cover, with articles appearing up in tabloids, broadsheets and local papers.

And that story has certainly being repeated here in Switzerland. I see them periodically in the local woods, but this past few months they've been popping up all over the place -- I've seen them while walking to the shops and even while waiting for the train. But best of all has been a couple of birds that have become regular visitors to the garden giving cracking views and photo opportunities! My wife is ever amused by my habit off disappearing into the garden and hiding under my portable camo-hide (Lenscoat LensHide), but you certainly need it for a bird like this. Silent mode on the shutter release also a must if you don't want to spook the bird.

Sporting a predominantly rusty-brown/buff plumage with accents of black and grey, massive bill and large head, this is one smart bird. Canon 1DX Mkii with 600mm f/4 ISII + 1.4x. 1/320 @ f/5.6, ISO 2500. Nice head turn - take a read of my article Head Games on how a good head turn can really make a shot - but shame the feet are just hidden from view.

Hawfinch, Mies, SwitzerlandHawfinch, Mies, Switzerland

And WHAT a beak - this bird truly is the avian "nutcracker"! Canon 1DX Mkii with 600mm f/4 ISII + 1.4x. 1/500 @ f/5.6, ISO 2000.

Hawfinch, Mies, SwitzerlandHawfinch, Mies, Switzerland

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