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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

05 December, 2010

Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)

Extreme cold weather in winter can mean the normal order of bird life in our garden gets turned on its head and almost anything can happen. We get around 16 species of birds in a normal week during the winter but the recent cold snap has seen 23 come in last week including Blackcap, Goldcrest and this little chap, a lone Brambling.

The Brambling is very closely related to the Chaffinch and is very common in the conifer forests of Scandinavia where Chaffinches do not breed. It is believed that have successfully bred in Scotland in the past but they are very much a winter visitor to our shores.

Bramblings are a bit like Waxwings in that some years we get virtually no Bramblings at all and in other years there are masses of them. This year they do seem to be quite common and the weather must be bad further north as we are seeing them here on the south coast.
Although they resemble a Chaffinch they are quite distinctive and easily told apart.

This little chap in our garden looks a bit bewildered and is not quite sure what way to go next! He didn't stay long.