This morning, a rare bright and mild day, I set off to check previously aforementioned large finch flock on the south footpath some 600 yards before Winding Hill, Much Hadham. A walk along the River Ash gave 3 new species for the year. Firstly a superbly plumaged male bullfinch was noted in the hedge opposite Bridgefoot Farm. A walk to the "finch field" gave up usual corvids and pigeons along with good numbers of winter thrushes. No flock of finches were observed, they have obviously moved on. On the return walk I mused over what birds may be present over the ensuing months. The red brick shelter in one field looks good for an owl roost and swallow nestings, whilst the muddy riverbed looked like it should hold snipe. Within a minute, I flushed three snipe from the muddy patch on a meander. They flew high, circling before heading off east. Good bird to see and 4oth on the village list. The river level has dropped markedly since last weekend. I arrived back at Chapel Lane just in time to record a marsh tit on the feeder in the garden of one of the Ford cottages. Another expected species but all the same a pleasure to watch. In an attempt to find my camera the bird flew overhead on to bushes on Brick Kiln Hill. However, I shall venture down again as I suspect it feeds regularly on the nuts offered.
Whilst heading out of the village I called hello to a chap tinkering with his car, only to discover it was a chap I knew 20 years ago from Stortford. Not seen him for a fair while. Good to see you and Jill again, Andy.
The top photo is taken where the finch flock had been, looking east along the hedge line with a wonderful sky. The second photo was taken looking west over the footbridge on the path towards Ash Valley golf course.