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This was Tuesday’s magical moment – well, actually, about 30 minutes of moments grinning like a Cheshire Cat while standing in the bitter cold, but what better reason to get frost bite than a Brambling!

220108 brambling (1)

These beauties are rarely seen in my part of south Wales. Bramblings breed in the far north, in parts of Scandinavia and Russia, heading south to Britain during our winter, so are often seen passing through when the weather starts to turn cold here. And local birders did report seeing them and hearing their distinctive calls in November-December 2021 (I also had a flyover sighting of two birds in December). But then they disappeared, presumably flying further afield in search of their favourite food, Beech mast, which is sparse locally this winter.

220108 brambling (2)

Presumably, a combination of a lack of food elsewhere and the increasingly cold weather is why some birds are now returning and being seen, with their cousins the Chaffinches, coming for seed from garden feeders and in other locations where people put out food for small birds in the winter. This is one reason I always carry some seed with me on winter walks. You never know what you might be lucky enough to see.