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Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Hawfinch and Hornbeam.

The fruit within the cluster.
These fruit clusters are one of the reasons the Hawfinch gather at this particular site.

One of the Hornbeam trees in the centre of the carpark at Sizeargh.

A beautiful sunrise greeted me as I made my way up to the South Lakes,I was heading for Sizeargh Castle owned by the National Trust.However it wasn`t the splendid residence that attracted me here, but the good numbers of Hawfinch that had been reported recently.
These birds probably come from Eastern Europe, namely Bulgaria and Hungary, where they are common! At Sizeargh, especially around the cafe carpark ,there are quite a few Hornbeam trees.They are laden with small kernels which lie within the fruit clusters.The Hawfinch uses its huge beak to crack these open and feed ravenously on them.This time however I wasn`t able to capture any good quality images of the birds as they were well concealed at the top most part of the trees.The few shots I did get were distant and I was rather disappointed at the quality.None the less I`d spent a marvellous few hours up at Sizeargh especially as the weather for once was obliging.It was well worth the early start as I still had time to call in on Leighton Moss on my way home.I`ll just finish now on some interesting facts about the Hornbeam tree which I researched when I got home later that day,
The Hornbeam besides being a good food source for the Finches, is one of the hardest and strongest of all timbers .It is still used today for making of all things,piano hammers and chopping boards.It is a good fuel source and makes high quality charcoals!In years gone by it was widely used to make waterwheels before castiron was brought in!

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