Male Brambling in my garden, it's been a long wait!!

19th November 2017
There has been a large movement of Bramblings into the UK over the last week or so. Every winter the UK has wintering Bramblings, some years have big numbers where flocks of hundreds can be seen. However, we very rarely see those big numbers in the Brecon Beacons, where a good flock is perhaps ten or so. Bramblings are basically ground feeders and they have a liking for fallen Beech Mast which can carpet a woodland floor in good years. This year Susan and I have walked in a few deciduous woodlands and there is definitely a lack of Beech Mast, whereas last year it was in abundance. We have lived in our present home for over twenty years and we have only seen one female Brambling in the garden in all that time. This year I’m pleased to say that has changed because there are some stubble fields where crops have been harvested near to where we live and there is currently a mixed Finch flock flying around and feeding in these fields. With this in mind I have been putting extra sunflower seeds out, more than normal, in an effort to attract a Brambling to our garden. I’m pleased to say this has been successful and Susan called me a few days ago to come and see two male Bramblings feeding on the grass outside the house. Success! – But I wanted to create a photographic situation, not just a shot of birds feeding in the grass. I removed one of the old logs I keep in a pile at the bottom of the garden and set it up outside one of my garden sheds and then scattered some seeds around. It took two days but yesterday a male Brambling was feeding around the log. I waited for them to fly away as they often do and I hid in the shed with the door wedged open and behind some ‘Camo Netting’.

I have seen some people have difficulty and misidentify Brambling and Chaffinch. I can’t see why people have this difficulty because Brambling are so distinctive with their burnt orange and black spotted plumage and their grey / black heads. In addition if you see a flock of birds rise up off a woodland floor in winter and you see white rump patches then they will almost certainly be Brambling. They are such lovely birds and as a result people want to see and photograph them if possible.