Average Birding

Solitary Yellowhammer

The next weekend comes and goes; friends are seen, birds are not. I do my very best to ignore BirdGuides. The weekend after, we're back in Beeston.

Pronoun guidance: AB1 has the BirdGuides subscription. This post covers the events of June 9-10, 2018.

Still no Lesser Whitethroat

Julie (Aunt, usually found in New Zealand) is over for a bit, and this is the only time we might manage to intersect. The standard trip to Attenborough is made; still no Lesser Whitethroat or Grasshopper Warbler (both now thoroughly in their invisible phase), but a helpful Green Sandpiper puts in an appearance on the ridge and furrow area. Even if it does elude anything but the most fleeting of views.


We make a trip up to Bramcote to see if we can find a more visible Yellowhammer than Weeting's elusive one from a fortnight ago. Mum reliably picks up Yellowhammer near Hemlock Scout Camp Site. This never ceases to amaze me, as it's a tiny area of farmland, trapped on one side by the A52 and all other sides by bits of Beeston and Bramcote. This place has some additional memories for me, as I once inexplicably came third in some sort of scout cross-country event. To this day I maintain I must have taken some shortcut, possibly guided by a grinning parent who knew the area rather better than most of the competitors.

The weather is stubbornly grey - the clouds show no sign of abating, and there's an occasional gusty wind that makes me think a layer on top of a jumper might have been sensible. Still, some immediate positive signs: in a scratchy field just beyond where we've parked, a collection of Linnets are feeding, and some Goldfinches are hopping about in the hedgerow bordering the right-hand edge of the field.

A few more Linnets and Goldfinches join the crowds; we spend a bit of time making sure that's what we are. Chris stops us: he's heard a Yellowhammer. He reckons it's in the same hedgerow as the Goldfinches, and finds something perching that he reckons is it. We misinterpret his directions and tell him off; it's obviously another Goldfinch. Then we think about it a bit and find the Yellowhammer he's looking at. Excellent. It sings its heart out for us for a good ten minutes, before we decide to move on.

A few Stock Doves clinging on to the chimneys of a rather delightful-looking house and a nose bleed from Chris are the only other events of note before we head home in search of warmth and lunch.

A brief review of June reveals a threadbare cupboard contaning four ticks only, bringing us to 170 for the year. That's not great.

Thankfully, on June 29th, we're heading up to Scotland for nine days of touring around. We've a guide book, four OS maps and a this absolute gem of a site guide to help us.