Monday, March 15, 2010


For the third time ever I saw a hawfinch this morning. This time I recognised it instantly, and I remembered the name in both English and Swedish (stenknäck), which was more of a surprise to me actually.

I consulted my European bird book and decided it was a male in spring/summer colours. When you look at the bill you can see it has a dark lead-grey colour, which they do not have in the winter. Last winter (08/09) I saw one in December, and the bill was different. So, it is officially spring!

In particular the Swedish name is very descriptive since it roughly translates as "stone cracker". It can crack open cherry stones among others. You would not go "Pretty Polly, who's a nice bird then?" and stick your finger too close.

You would in fact not get very close since they are very shy and very rarely visit gardens. So I was very pleased to see one again, and luckily I had the right lens in the camera. Have a look, isn't he pretty?

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Read more and listen here.


Expats Again said...

Thank you for pointing out the Hawfinch. I will be on the lookout. They are lovely.

LadyFi said...

All your photos are so stunning! And I see that you don't have any snow like we do in Sweden - still over a metre!

Veronica said...

He is beautiful ... you would really love our Gouldian finches ... google to see a photo if you are not familiar.
Is spring really trying to happen?

swenglishexpat said...

Expats Again - You will need a lot of luck and patience, but when you see one, it is unmistakable.

LadyFi - Thank you very much. Even nights have been above freezing in the last few days.

Veronica - Spring is most definitely on its way. I have seen the blackbirds disappear into the shrub where they have a nest. Maybe doing it up for the season.
I'll google that Gouldian finch.

Pearl said...

What a pretty bird! We don't have those here in Minnesota.

The first cardinal showed up over the weekend, however!


swenglishexpat said...

Pearl - The cardinal has got a fantastically vibrant red colour! No camouflage exactly! ;-) But like you said, we don't get them over here.

Veronica - Now I have googled the Gouldians, spectacular!

Limningedge said...

thought you would like him ... they are a protected species here in the NT - none in the city area but some not too far away