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LIVE 24-SEVEN


Fieldfare 94


Redwing


SEASONAL BIRD GUIDE


Gwent Wildlife Trust’s Senior Wildlife Ecologist Andy Karran, gives us the lowdown on how to spot winter thrushes this autumn and winter…


We have thrushes in the Gwent area all year round. We have our resident, familiar Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Mistle Thrushes that serenade us with their songs in spring. Additionally, the very lucky amongst us might get to see the scarce summer visiting Ring Ouzel in our uplands.


Winter, however, is the real time of the thrush with our resident populations being swelled by winter visitors from farther afield. The blackbird that has been in your garden all summer may not be the same as the one that spends the winter there, this may be a migrant from the frozen north.


For me however the real ‘winter thrushes’ are the redwing and the fieldfare. Just as the first swallow heralds spring and brings with it hope, these thrushes say winter is on its way and with it the excitement and interest that comes with every changing season. Far more obscure, and one I love hearing is the first soft ‘seep’ call of redwings migrating somewhere overhead in the dark of an October/November night.


Redwings are our smallest thrush species and are named after the red under their wings, you only generally see this if the bird is flying however. The distinct pale eye-stripe is an important identification feature that can be more readily seen.


Fieldfares are an altogether larger and stockier thrush. From a distance they perhaps don’t look all that special, although the grey rump in flight can be a distinctive feature. Closer up however they reveal themselves to be a fantastic mix of slate greys, dark spots and purple/brown patches, making them very handsome birds indeed. The harsh “chack chack” call of a roving flock often reveals their presence.


The redwings and fieldfare breed in Scandinavia and further east in to Russia (a very small number breed in Scotland each year also). These areas get very cold in the winter and the low temperatures, in addition to a lack of available food, drives the birds south and west to arrive on our relatively mild shores in October and November. Here they are able to gorge themselves


LIVE24-SEVEN.COM


GWENT WI LDL I F E TRUST S EASONAL BIRD GUIDE


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