Tuesday 19 January 2016

Running through a Birdstorm

I managed to get out in reasonable time today, and thus had the opportunity to hit the trails to have a really good, long run and see what was about.

I had a hunch that the cold weather - down to -3 or so last night - might have brought a few birds into town and the surrounding countryside, and so it proved. Two kilometres in I was running along the field at the back of Grange Road, and I flushed out a flock of small birds from the hedgerow on my right. These turned out to be reed buntings, a long way from any water and certainly not where I'd seen any before.

A little further along, a flock of winter thrushes emerged from the taller trees in front of me. They didn't hang around and the light was very poor, but I couldn't spot any white undersides so figured them for redwing, my first of the season.

There were plenty of finches about too, chaffinch in the main.

I slogged through the mud until I reached Hawton Village, where I saw a large flock of birds settle into the tall trees next to the church. Starling again, making a tremendous racket as they had done when I had found them in a different stand of trees nearby. I'm guessing there was perhaps 500 of them, and why they had paused in those particular trees to have  screaming match with each other I had no idea. Perhaps they were imparting the latest gossip to each other.

I kept on plodding, steely skies luckily not dropping any rain on me. There is a large field where I've spotted fieldfare before on the Hawton-Farndon road, I knew they's be there today, and I wasn't wrong, with about 100 birds joined by another small flock as I watched, their slate grey rumps being the main identifier as they hopped about on the ground.

Another first for the season!

Eventually I squelched along the river to finish off my ten miles, and came across a huge flock of chaffinch and goldfinch in what will be one of the buttercup meadows in a few months time.

So as ever, the cold brings out the birds. Too bad my camera batteries were flat. Gah.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 19.01.16

Starlings gather

Hundreds in this tree

The fieldfare field

Farndon colour

Farndon church

Love this graveyard

Robin on the river

Proper running conditions

Power station




New bark on the Old Oak Wood path


  1. Brilliant Simon, excellent images.

  2. The images you create with words are every bit as good as your photos, so don`t be too hard on yourself when the camera battery runs down!

    Amazing to see flock of winter birds in such numbers. There must be good feeding in the wet fields.

  3. Beautiful photos, Simon!
    The old graveyard does look fascinating. Can one still read the inscriptions?

  4. I don't know Sara, I've never been in it. In a couple of months that will be a sea of blue forget me nots.

    Thanks too Bob and Dartford, I got a treecreeper today hopefully, there are daisies and dandelions out today as well. Despite the cold snap.

  5. You certainly came across a lot of birds Simon, and a great run despite the mud. I like the nice clean look of the new bark on the path-nice and soft underfoot too.

  6. Ha Suzie they've only done half of the path so far, the rest is a bog! It's part of our Parkrun course, and it really becomes a slog in winter