Wednesday 25 January 2023

On that very special, winter’s day in 2018!

Brrrrrrrr! T’is cold here in South Devon! I call it soup and stew weather! Good, winter warmers! I guess that’s what I love about the winter, especially if you’ve been outside for a while. 

As I was contemplating, earlier, having had a quick trip to the local, garden centre with my son and grandson, where we put the world to rights over a cuppa and a cheese scone, my mind was suddenly transported back five years to that very cold winter of 2018.

I remember saying to my husband, ‘ I’ve set myself a task! Today, I’m going to try to spot a Redwing, a Fieldfare, a Brambling and a Hawfinch!’

It was certainly cold enough and having lived at our then house, ‘Woodpeckers’, for many years, I knew very well that I’d definitely see the first three birds, mentioned. And lo and behold, I soon spotted these:

                                                                     The Redwing


                                                                    The Fieldfare

                                                                    The Brambling

However, I wasn’t confident about the Hawfinch due to the simple fact that I’d never seen one in the garden. That’s not to say that one might not have visited, of course. So I went to my study to prepare my lessons, feeling somewhat pleased that I had at least spotted three of my chosen birds. ‘3 out of 4 ain’t bad,’ I said to myself.

As I sat there, deep in thought, I was suddenly aware of something moving in the gutter just outside the window. Glancing up, I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was truly one of those ‘WOW’ moments.

And there, foraging in the gutter, was my fourth bird, that elusive Hawfinch! My first ever sighting! I grabbed my phone and quickly took a photo but at the same time I so desperately wanted my other half to see this bird! We always shared things like this. Could I get to the other end of the house and back, before it flew away?

As luck would have it, I managed it! We crept cautiously back into the study and there we stood, watching, as it foraged away to its heart’s content!

The best things in life most certainly are free! That made my day! 

We’ve moved house now but I still have those memories along with the thousands of photos of the birds spotted during our 21 years there.

And never say never…who knows that there might be a Hawfinch or two, hanging around here, somewhere! 


  1. Lovely story - my garden birds bring so much joy too.
    Cozy up and stay warm.

    Do you have a favorite garden shop near Newton Abbot? My cousin in Teignmouth used to take me to a super one with a cafe - can't recall name though.
    Mary x

  2. We have a few, Mary. There is Jack’s Patch on the Teignmouth to Newton road. There’s Fermoys, on the Newton to Totnes road.
    There is also Ullacombe Farm shop and cafe, near Bovey as well as Occombe Farm, nr Torquay and Otters at Marldon.
    We also quite like to go further afield, to the South Hams, where there are one or two farm shops with cafes as well as The Avon Mill Garden Centre. So we are quite well resourced! I like them all but tend to frequent Fermoys, each week, with my daughter or son.

  3. Jack's Patch is the one I've been to when home on several visits.
    My cousin and her daughter used to buy so much stuff there when they had gardens!
    Thanks for the memory dear - enjoy the day.
    Mary -


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