On Sunday driving out of Knowesgate past the shoe tree a flash of orangey back caught my eye in the hedgerow. I slammed on the brakes much to my mothers disapproval and reversed where I got a view of five to ten Brambling before they cut the corner off the field and disappeared from view. This species rarer than hens teeth this winter I took the first opportunity to return to the spot parking in a gate which opened into a stubble field. Immediately flocks of birds lifted ff the ground before settling back. Two or three Skylarks were singing and then on the passage of a Land Rover up the road a throng of birds emerged from the grass. I counted 21 Skylark and hundreds of finches which perched high up in the trees next to the road. Closer inspection revealed them to be Brambling, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Redpoll with other large flocks of Starlings, Meadow Pipits and Corvids also present. Just as I got settled to watch the throng was flushed by a Sparrowhawk who hunted in the most inept fashion fluttering with legs dangling as if confused by the amount of prey darting around him. The Brambling fortunately gathered atop one particular tree where I counted at least thirty.
If only more stubble was left over winter I'm sure many endangered species like Yellowhammer would stage a major recovery.