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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!

06 April, 2016

Brambling: in from the cold

Extreme cold weather in winter can mean the normal order of bird life in our countryside can get turned on its head and almost anything can happen. It is possible to find unexpected species almost anywhere including gardens of course. So it was a while back when, in a particularly cold snap, this little chap turned up in our garden, a lone brambling (Fringilla montifringilla).
The brambling is very closely related to the chaffinch and is very common in the conifer forests of Scandinavia where chaffinches do not breed. The brambling is believed to have successfully bred in Scotland in the past but they are very much a winter visitor to here in Dorset. Although related to, and do resemble in appearance the chaffinch they are quite distinctive and easily told apart. 
Bramblings are a bit like waxwings in that some years we get virtually none at all and then in other years there are masses of them. They do seem to be more common when the weather is bad further north and food gets in short supply.
This one I photographed in our garden looks a bit bewildered and is not quite sure what way to go next! He didn't stay long.
Brambling: in from the cold