It is 11 months since I started trying see a brambling, and back then I missed my chance before they migrated. I have been meaning to go back to them since the Autumn, but haven’t got round to it till now.
I think I may have had them in the garden at my old house in Belper once, in the snow, but I’m not sure. There is still plenty of the snow on the ground today, but thankfully it had cleared enough for me to get up to Bumper Castle. Last year, and again this year, there have been sightings of a flock up by this farm just off Beeley Moor, so I was heading there, the last report on the Derby Bird News being two days ago.
I forget just how high it is up there, and the hills up to it were steep. However, the view from the top is magnificent, especially in the snow.
As I approached the farm I could see a flock of birds filling the tree across the road so I pulled over a bout 100m back. A quick look in the binoculars showed the vibrant colours of the bramblings!! There were loads, and many had now dropped into the corner of the field below the tree.
I approached a bit closer and watched them flit around, up and down to and from the tree. A few had started to develop the jet black heads and the red breasts were startling, as were the yellow and white bands on the wings and body.
Then I was joined by Mike. I had passed him on one of the hills, and wondered what he was walking up here for. It turns out he only lives two streets away from me, and had got the bus as far as he could. He was also heading up to see the bramblings. We chatted, while watching the flock feed, and he positioned his scope so we got a good look. He has travelled all over on public transport to see birds, and was very interesting to talk to.
After about 15 mins the whole flock took off. Flashing their under-wing colours as they disappeared over the trees! We waited around for a bit, but they didn’t come back.
Mike and I headed further up the road to Wragg’s Quarry, but it was lifeless, no movement whatsoever!!
Mike insisted on walking back to get the bus so we said goodbye and I headed back down the hill. Not too far down I caught up with the flock and sat and watched for a few more minutes before heading home.
Bramblings done at last!!