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Showing posts from June, 2011

Thickbills in the thistles

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This is one of my favourite times of the year to be in garden. And one of the reasons for this is that one of my favourite birds are very easy to watch here at the moment. It is the Hawfinch or Picogordo in Spanish which translates as stout or thick bill. Over the years here I have almost worked out the annual cycle of our local Hawfinches. I know that in the winter they will come to feed on ripe olives, on the fruit of cypresses and I have even seen one pick up an unshelled almond. In late winter we often see a male singing from the bare tree in front of the house. In March the place to find them is where there are Southern elm trees. They feast on the mast. There is a clump opposite the church just down the lane. And then they disappear. During most of April and May they can be hard to find - a fleeting glimpse of a bird in flight here, another disappearing across a wooded valley there. The reason is that they become very secretive during the breeding season. They must be breeding …