After an almost total absence this winter, with just a handful of sightings, 3 bramblings turned up at the woodland hide this afternoon. I guess natural food out in the New Forest must be really low now so they are coming to feed at the woodland hide feeders.
The birds were quite shy staying back in amongst the hawthorns, but eventually came close to the hide, mainly feeding on the ground but occasionally coming on to the feeders.
Numbers of bramblings vary from winter to winter at Blashford lakes, some years they can be extremely plentiful even outnumbering chaffinches as the commonest bird at the woodland hide. The highest count is just over 300 on March the 31st in 2011. Indeed March is the best time to see them on the reserve with all the highest counts during this month. However this winter is definitely the poorest for some years. They breed in upland birch forests of Scandinavia, Finland and Russia, and in mild winters often remain in southern Norway and Sweden, however a cold winter and/or a poor crop of tree seeds can push huge numbers in the central and western Europe.