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Post Info TOPIC: Sizergh Castle


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RE: Sizergh Castle


Went today and there were at least four birds in the area, of which we had good views of two in the trees towards the exit from the car park, and one in flight and perched in a tree in the central verge

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Frank


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Ok. Cheers Rob.

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RE: Sizergh Castle (Hawfinches)


Craig Higson wrote:

Anyone know if the Hawfinches have been showing here recently. Might have a shuftie on Friday if they've been around.

-- Edited by Craig Higson on Wednesday 12th of November 2014 09:14:45 PM





Hi Craig,
Virtually 12 months ago to this weekend I saw them, although I must say conditions were harsher, ice on the roads, car park was frozen, and the grass where were stood was also covered in that feathery ice that was covering my feet turning my feet into ice blocks. The harsh conditions may have brought them down to feed, although irregularly, to the car park. I had them at the back of the castle gardens. Hope this helps.
Rob

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Anyone know if the Hawfinches have been showing here recently. Might have a shuftie on Friday if they've been around.

-- Edited by Craig Higson on Wednesday 12th of November 2014 09:14:45 PM

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First stop this morning at 8.15 just as the rain stopped.

2 Ravens flew over as I got out of the car and after a quick look at the feeders which were full of the usuals a single Hawfinch flew into the Hornbeam at the corner of the car park, gave good views for 5 minutes before flying off over the feeding station. Only the second time I've managed to see Hawfinch here despite a number of attempts one the years so made upbiggrin



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Saturday 30th November

Early morning visit to try and catch the Hawfinches again but they didn't show either on the car park or at the shrub garden where they were last time. We thought our luck was in when 2 finches flew into the top of a tree near the feeders, but they turned out to be quite large Chaffinches.

Feeding Station very busy with Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long Tailed Tit group moved through, Jay, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, and plenty of Chaffinch.

Other birds of note :
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Treecreeper
A few Ravens (over)

Stopped at Leighton Moss on way back

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Sunday 1st of December 2013 06:29:14 PM

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Sunday 10th November 8.30am - 1.30 pm

An early start and very poor driving conditions in fog and ice eventually got me there about 8.30am.

A Sparrowhawk had dispersed a group of 5 Hawfinches just before I arrived so I wasn't surprised that I didn't see one for about an hour and half, knowing that Hawfinches are notoriously uneasy and nervous birds anyway.
Nice to meet Andy and Ron up there and I think the 3 of us had the right idea of keeping away from the car park and persevering with standing on the edge of the field against the picturesque garden wall. The birding crowd in the car park was increasing and the only birds feeding on the ground were Chaffinches and Pied Wagtails.
Keith Mills makes a valid point below, more people in the car park the less chance of seeing them.

The Hawfinches eventually showed after a couple of flyovers from the car park direction.
1st to show was a male, what a fantastic bird. Then 2 males, then a male and female. Although there couldve been quite a few birds, they only showed in 1's and 2's, at most there was only ever 4 birds together at once so impossible to say how many.
These birds seemed to prefer Beech and Yew trees here, and trust me they can disappear in a relatively bare autumn tree, frustrating. They were joined by countless Redwings and both species fell victim to the constant harassment of the local Mistle Thrush, more so the Redwings.

A fantastic bird and a lifer for me and the others. Well worth the trip and my toes turning to blocks of ice.

Other birds of note:

2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
A few Ravens over
A few Nuthatch
1 large Buzzard on the entrance road

...plus usuals

Dropped in at Leighton Moss again on way back

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One postscipt to my last post:

Although, as I said, there was ample seed down and the Hawfinch were there, they would not feed like the other birds.
Some Birders in my opinion were just to obvious(see Gordon Taylor's comment on this thread) and were deterring
the Hawfinch.
One Photographer stood and moved about, immediately in front of the Play area/Feeding Patch,
while one birder strolled in front of the area to get a scope from his car.
I do not like to bleat but I had paid for 60 Miles of diesel. The best place to be is on the veranda or in your car
near the veranda









-- Edited by keith mills on Sunday 7th of April 2013 08:55:09 AM

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Arrived here at 8.45 this Morning. I was informed that four Hawfinch had been in the car park 20 minutes earlier.
However within a few minutes two more appeared perched high up and into the sun. Fortunately one
of these flew low across the car park to sit in a Hornbeam on a fairly low branch. This tree being in the corner
with the play area.
There seemed ample seed down as Chaffinch, Nuthatch, Coal Tit, Blue Tits and Jackdaws were regularly
ground feeding. A Brambling was seen.
This was only my second view of Hawfinch and the best, but next time I'll be earlier!
On the drive out, Redwing were ground feeding in good number

-- Edited by keith mills on Saturday 6th of April 2013 09:09:43 PM

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Late post for yesterday , Wed . 16th...
Arrived at about 08:35 , car park gate still locked . Light covering of snow on the ground . We scattered a kilo of sunflower kernels on a clear patch ,near the play area, and retreated to watch from a suitable distance ( flask,bins and camera at the ready )
Within minutes, the area was alive with Chaffinch,Blue and Great Tits,Blackbirds, Nuthatch and Song Thrush.
A small flock of redwings flew over, then , at about 08:55 , a single Hawfinch made an appearance ,towards the top of the tree directly in front of us.
We had good ( but not great ) views of the bird ,for about four minutes, as it flitted around in the tree, before it flew off over the cafe.
Despite waiting for a further hour, no more signs of any Hawfinch .Then a couple of Carrion Crows arrived....dispersing all the smalle birds...so onwards to Leighton Moss...Brrrrr....

Cheers Chris

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Monday 3rd December. Had a week off work and decided to go and try again to see the hawfinches. We arrived at 8.00 and the weather was pretty poor. Put down some sunflower seed around the play area as advised in the past. Plenty of birds came:
nuthatch
blackbird
jay
robin
coal tit
great tit
blue tit
chaffinch
we waited untill 10.20 and a brambling appeared which was excellent!! Then at the same time a single hawfinch appeared. Got some photos but slightly to far away so none as good as I would have liked but this is the first time I have seen this bird was really happy just to see it!! I was amazed by it's bulk and that beak!!!!
Brilliant to see and well worth the wait.

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A day out up north today with John Barber saw us at Sizergh Castle car park at first light hoping for a Hawfinch. Unfortunately the weather was slightly against us and it took a good while before any signs of life. I did have brief views of a probable Hawfinch at the top of one of the mature trees near the cafe but the light was against me and I could only judge it from its size and shape alone. Other than that we didn't see any other signs of them.

Plenty of other birds around though:-

Goldfinch
Greenfinch
Chaffinch
Brambling
Nuthatch
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Coal Tit
Great Spotted Woodpecker

From there it was on to Leighton Moss. See other thread.

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Called in just before 10.00am , great views of a single m. Hawfinch from car park. Really close, hopping about on floor right near the small new play area.

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Just got back now. Saw 8 or 9 of them. Took a photo then realised I had forgotten my memory card Still great views and thanks to everyone for the advice

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Thanks Gordon - we'll give it a go

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The car park at Sizergh is accessible at all times, either drive in if the barrier is open or park carefully on access road and use the small gate to enter the car park. Recently people have been getting out of their cars and walking around so scaring the birds which are probably one of the most secretive of the finches. Its probably best to view from the top of the car park using your car or the trees as cover. I saw them over thewall inthe tops of the tres s towards the House. Good luck

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Might already be on here but what time does Sizergh open? - Will the gates be open so that you can drive up to the car park? - staying near Newby Bridge soon and my young lad wants to get up very early to see if we can catch them - any information would be very much appreciated


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At least six hawfinch showing very well around carpark on Saturday 10th
Report of four on ground feeding today

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Graham


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5 seen this morning. 3 in play area and 2 high in trees on opposite side. Also pair of jays, many nuthatch, various other tits and finches. Raven over.

Phil

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Arrived early this morning en route to the Solway area and saw three Hawfinch in the Hornbeam plus a pair of Jays and heard a GSW, then as we drove out I caught movement just to the left of the gate and realised a few Hawfinch had flown into the hedge - after a minute they returned to the ground underneath the trees and we had spectacular views of four of them feeding for over ten minutes.

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Arrived at Sizergh at 09.00 this morning and was straight onto one of the Hawfinches in the tallest Hornbeam at the bottom end of the car park. We stayed for about an hour before we left for Leighton Moss - it was cold. During that period the maximum number of birds we saw was 4 at any one time.

There were also several Bullfinch and a couple of Treecreeper around during the visit.

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What birds are you likely to see at the feeding station?

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Hi Chris

I don't know if this will help or just confuse you further but, when we saw them in September, we were at the end of the car park furthest from the entrance, facing the cafe. The birds initially seemed to come from our front left and into the trees behind us, but they were quite mobile all around the carpark, eventually spending a lot of time feeding in the tops of the trees that flank each side of the cafe. We were comparatively late, as we only left Oldham at 7.a.m., which may explain why we didn't see any on the ground.

Cheers, Mike

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I think it is the same area it is just now a childs play area!!

Cheers dennis

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good luck Chris, very interesting, they may have moved to another feeding area? as you enter the car park and the building is on the right side, the left hand opposite far corner under the trees was the usual place, under the trees feedng on the floor, there used to be a small picnic table there under the trees,
Easy to just keep eye out on both areas, best of luck




Good luck with your photos, you seem to be working it out nicely, find a good spot wait and let the birds come to you, bags of patience needed


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Rob,

Every thing that moved in that area I looked at!!! Like you say they are obviously hard to see even though you know they are in the area but will look even harder on my next visit!!!

Dennis,

Had a look at your pictures. i love that 4th one of the very close up on the head.

Not sure what lens you are using but i appreciate how hard it is getting close enough for a shot like that!! I would be mega happy to get anything like that!!
I have only been into photographing wildlife for about a year. Even though I have been relatively successful with my photos so far, i am still learning all the time. Even so I know that you dont really get mega shots like that with out putting effort in. I think sometimes that is my problem. I would sit anywhere for hours to under my netting to get great photos, it is just knowing the right places at the right times!!
I have been marching around places which I have realised is just no good. It is sitting and waiting in the right place that will give much better rewards in the end!!
I will definately go back to Sizergh soon for the Hawfinches. It is interesting that I think you are telling me to go to the opposite side of the car park than where that chap told me!! He said under the hornbeam near the play area was my best bet just after sunrise!!
Like I said to see one will be amazing, to get a photo as well...........

Chris

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Hi Chris,

i have not been this year but last year and the previous one they were favouring the car park in the left far corner as you enter under the trees, feeding on the ground, there is a long small lump of grass that runs along the car park, on the left side, you can lie down in between the cars just behind it under some netting and see the birds at eye level, ish, almost totally out of view, throw lots of seeds down to, it can only help, if the sun is showing it comes down the park and lights the birds nicely, i would say between 9-10 is the best time to try,

Best of luck,

ps my photos are on here in the out of county photos gallery section, judge for your self if there any good,


-
Chris brown wrote:

Hi

I got talking to the guy who sponsers the food for free there. The feeding station has been open a couple of months so is still being developed he explained. It is to the left of the building as you look at. just through the gate that leads to the castle itself. Like I said it is a really good set up to get close to all the birds mentioned below. As for the hawfinches I was told that they move out to a different part of the estate after the first sun light but he did say if your lucky there can be some stragglers left behind!! (I was obviously unlucky!!!)

Dennis, I would love to just see a hawfinch but would aim to try and get a picture if I go back. So if I set myself up under my netting early morning, near that play area do you think I would stand a decent chance?
My biggest problem I think would be light so early in the morning but I take it you managed to get some decent shots?

Chris





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Two weeks ago we had a confiding bird early afternoon in the main car park.

It was feeding in what i think was a Hornbeam, to the left but in the childrens play area as you stand with your back to the cafe.

It was very tolerent, not even disturbing when a couple and dog parked directly underneath and spent some time donning boots (the couple, not the dog).

What was a bit of an eye opener was that it looked smaller that Iwould have expected despite being so low, and it was quite hard to see despite being low down.

I would suspect that it would have beeen very easy to overlook.

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Rob


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Cheers for that rick. Will check that out next time I go.
It was funny because every time we saw a fat chaffinch we thought it was going to be a hawfinch. A closer look just disapointed!!!!

Chris

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Chris,

There are also some large (Beech?) trees near the main gate, as you you enter the grounds, where they apparently can be seen. I didn't see them here, but a few of the birders there said that if you don't get them near the car park, they might be there.

Good luck.

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Hi

I got talking to the guy who sponsers the food for free there. The feeding station has been open a couple of months so is still being developed he explained. It is to the left of the building as you look at. just through the gate that leads to the castle itself. Like I said it is a really good set up to get close to all the birds mentioned below. As for the hawfinches I was told that they move out to a different part of the estate after the first sun light but he did say if your lucky there can be some stragglers left behind!! (I was obviously unlucky!!!)

Dennis, I would love to just see a hawfinch but would aim to try and get a picture if I go back. So if I set myself up under my netting early morning, near that play area do you think I would stand a decent chance?
My biggest problem I think would be light so early in the morning but I take it you managed to get some decent shots?

Chris

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The Peet family wrote:

Is the feeding station at Sizergh castle - also where is the feeding station and the hide





I have not been since the new feeding station Chris mentioned has been started, hopefully Chris will come back with some more info here,

Sorry to cause any confusion, but the hide i mentioned is a portable hide i use just for bird photography,

Best Den

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Is the feeding station at Sizergh castle - also where is the feeding station and the hide

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Ive spent a bit of time observing these birds last year to get some photos, Chris and Rick are both right at the same time here, you can see Hawfinches at any time of the day, but the key is disturbance, these birds are very flighty and dont hang around if there is lots of noise, people and stuff like that, which of course there is when the place is open, its not really that first light is best but it is the quietest time and i have had 6 hawfinches feeding around me in a hide for about an 20 mins one quiet early morning alone last year, i also threw down loads of nuts, sunflower seeds and mixed seeds which of course cant do any harm in keeping them interested, good luck if you try again,

best Den

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Hi Chris,

Not sure about the info you were given about first light. It may be true at this time of year, but we went to Sizergh Castle in the summer and a single Hawfinch showed really well just next to the main car park, opposite the cafe at about 10am. Would have been even better if we could have had a brew and a bacon butty to enjoy whilst we were there, but the cafe doesn't open til 11 or something! Daft, considering there were at least 7 birders about in need of caffeine and bacony sustanance.

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Had a couple of days in the lake district last week and decided to visit sizergh castle with the hope of seeing the hawfinches. Whilst there someone explained to me that they are only there at first light for about half an hour. I decided to get up the next morning and go across. As I got to the round about off the main road to sizergh it was closed. There had been an accident which meant the road was closed. Thus no hawfinches seen but I had spent some time at the new feeding station taking photos the day before. Great veiws of the common birds eg blue/ great tit, goldfinch chaffinch, dunock, etc but also some brilliant shots of nuthatch, tree creeper and willow tit. Very good set up and will definately vist again and hopefully catch the hawfinches next time as well!!

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yes that is good news, a large play area removing a tree there would of been a disaster for the birds, when i got the call from a friend it obviously looked worse than it might actually turn out to be, fingers crossed,

Best Den

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I am hoping to get up to Sizergh myself in the near future and after reading the earlier posts I got in touch with the National Trust at Sizergh, their reply was :-

Dear Dr Ashton,

Thank you for enquiring regarding the play equipment and Hawfinch feeding at Sizergh. I hope that the following information might help to put your mind at rest by explaining the details and background to it.

We have been collecting raffle funds for 3 years to install a play area at Sizergh and originally planning consent was granted for a large play area development in that corner of the estate. This included removing a sycamore tree and erecting numerous pieces of play equipment and soft play bases. However because of the special and important nature of the area for Hawfinches it was decided not to go ahead with this development and the main Sizergh play area will now be situated somewhere else away from where Hawfinches feed.

Instead we have installed 3 pieces of low-level play equipment which require no bases at all to avoid disturbance to the seeds that the finches feed on, we are not removing any trees and we have used equipment that is natural. Visitors to Sizergh tend to arrive from 11am onwards (after key Hawfinch morning feeding). The castle closes in October until March so we have much fewer visitors during important Hawfinch months and families tend to use this picnic area during summer months only (rather than October- March when Hawfinches use it). On this basis after taking advice from local birders and our conservation consultant we felt the much reduced scheme could co-exist with the Hawfinches. It was also arranged that the equipment was installed as early as possible to reduce disturbance, which is why the very first day the site was closed to the public the work started and it was completed in two and a half days.

I hope this helps to explain, but please do contact us if you would like to discuss it further.

Regards,

Anna

Anna Singer

Business Support Assistant, Sizergh

( Office : 015395 60951; Desk: 015395 69810

+ National Trust, Estate Office, Sizergh, Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 8AE

email: anna.singer@nationaltrust.org.uk



So it looks as though they have thought about the birds but if anyone has further questions contact Anna as above.

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If I've read my Handbook correctly,The House is shut all Winter.
Cafe, shop and Gardens open 11 to 4 (5 in Summer)
Everything shuts throughout January. Garden shut Jan/ Feb and Opens 13/3.
The NT Newsletter talks of a Childrens Ice rink.....New...''Get Ya Skates on.''...
From 23/11 to23/12

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I wonder who did the environmental impact assesment. Whoever it was must be fairly bad at their job.

I assume you'll let us have Rob Pocklington's contact details if you get them.

-- Edited by Mike Chorley on Wednesday 2nd of November 2011 10:09:24 PM

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Sounds like a good idea, i will try to find an email for him and contact him, i also urge anyone else who feel the same to send a small email to him and speak there concerns, my friend called the trust today, im not sure who he spoke too and unfortunatly had no luck, the trust did express there concerns about the birds but apparantly the decision has already been made and the reason being the Hawfinches feed in the early morning and the play area will be used from opening time onwards so there will be no disturbance in there opinion? i have seen Hawfinches there at all times of day and they may feed in the early morning but that is because they like quiet and dont hang around when it is noisy or busy, the building of the park itself is going to be a disturbance, i hope the birds can survive this, i think these birds are superb and they are one of my favourite birds, it will be very sad if they are pushed away


sizergh@nationaltrust.org.uk this is the only email i can find so far,

Steve Matthewman wrote:

That's a shame!
There's a guy called Rob Pocklington, who works for the National Trust at Sizergh and is a keen birder. It might be an idea to contact him and find out what is going on.





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That's a shame!
There's a guy called Rob Pocklington, who works for the National Trust at Sizergh and is a keen birder. It might be an idea to contact him and find out what is going on.

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This morning i had a phone call from a friend who turned up at the castle. Unbeleivably they have started plans to build a play area on the small patch of ground where the hawfinches feed. Even though the castle area is vast and in many acres they have choosen this tiny important area and one of the few reliable sites for seeing hawfinch. We are looking into who is in charge and seeing if there is anything we can do? Who we can complain too? Possibly national trust. Not sure yet. I will post more info as i get it. I personally feel this area is so small and important it would be such a shame to lose it.

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hoping to get here for a morning later in the week.
am staying at Low park wood camp site about a mile away.
will keep posted!

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-J


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At least 9 birds in the trees around the carpark this a.m. giving good views

Also:

Greater Spotted Woodpecker 2
Chaffinch
Goldfinch
Jackdaw
Mistle Thrush
Song Thrush
Blackbird
Nuthatch

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Called in at Sizergh 8.10 AM on Tuesday (05/04) Excellent views of 4 Hawfinch, 3 m 1 f. Feeding on floor at v close range with Chaffinch and Greenfinch. Also flitting up in trees.
Good prolonged chance to watch these cracking birds.
Well worth an early rise.

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Arrived at Sizergh this morning just before 8am with Iain Johnson. The car park gates were just being opened and we drove in with another birder who had his camera. We saw about 10 birds originally which flew off, but gradually one or two returned. One gave us excellent views and as we left there seemed to be others returning. I would certainly recommend this site for Hawfinch, one of the best I've visitedsmile.gif

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Sid, Gordon, Pete, Thanks for your advice. I popped in on the way to Sellafield yesterday morning. Sun shining, dawn chorus in full swing including the metallic pitch of the Hawfinch. I was there at about 7:30am, so pretty cold but a bird was present for about 10-15 minutes in the area opposite the cafe like you said. One of the wardens was present with a scope etc, as were a few other birders, but only 3-4 to be fair. Another bird was seen briefly in the trees behind us, which was also calling, so happy enough to have got cracking views, but from chatting to the warden he reckons there may be up to 30 individuals biggrin.gif.

Glad I made the little stop off. smile.gifsmile.gif

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Just to confirm as soon as its light has worked for me and the very tall trees behind the cafe - but also the Hornbeam [?] in the bottom of the loop of the car park in front of the cafe entrance - for such a distinctive bird they can be tricky to spot and I've never got more than a record shot! Perhaps we should agree a spot and starting doing a bit of sneaky seeding smile.gif

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Thanks Gordon and Sid, always good to the info before a visit when time is tight.

I might get an opportunity on my way up next week or the week after if it is light when I'm passing by in the morning. I'll check out the location you mentioned and hope for the best. I've seen them in a few places over the years including Chester, Thetford Forest, N.Lancs and Conwy Valley, but not seen any this winter and as I've been driving past Sizergh (always in the darkness so far) I've been waiting for the mornings and evenings to brighten up a little biggrin.gif. Thanks, I'll post what I see in the coming weeks.

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