Hawfinch – Mercer Way, Romsey, Hampshire

Mercer Way is a road in Romsey which leads down to an area with taller trees bordering several open grassy areas and is a pretty reliable location for Hawfinches. It’s best to visit in winter when there are no leaves and so it’s easier to see them.

I’d never visited here before and so I met Dad on location and he showed me the favoured trees. Fairly soon I found a male sat up in the tree tops and instantly regretted leaving my scope and sketchbook in the car. I trotted back and returned and the Hawfinch was still present and allowed me a further 10 seconds to sketch it before it flew.

Passerines are usually harder to sketch as they are smaller, are often in trees and usually move more quickly than other larger birds. It pays to sketch as quickly as you can and try and get as much down as possible (without guessing too much) especially if the bird is stationary for a few seconds.

The Hawfinches gave their ticking calls as they perched in the tree tops and their short tail and their undulating flight with wing bars visible from below were also characteristic. I also noticed the slightly bizarre club shaped extensions to the primaries and tertials.

The Hawfinch took me to 106 for the year.

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