Thursday, 9 February 2012

Thrush

Yesterday, I mentioned the large flocks of Fieldfares which are flitting about the area at present.  This morning, as if to say "what about the rest of us?"  one of the Fieldfare's smaller cousins appeared in our hedge and availed itself of the berries there.  A Redwing (Turdus iliacus).
The Fieldfare is one of the largest members of the Thrush family but the Redwing is among the smallest - indeed it is the smallest true thrush to be found in the UK.  Easy to identify, especially when you are privileged enough to get such good views as I did this morning, by the rust-coloured patch under it's wing and the bold, creamy stripe above it's eye.
Primarily a Winter visitor to these shores, they roam across the countryside looking for food, chiefly berries and worms.  When things get particularly hard, they may visit our gardens and overcome their natural shyness.  This gorgeous bird stayed for a while and allowed me to capture several pictures before flying off again, but what luck..!
About 685,000 Redwings come to the UK each Winter, but only a handful stay to breed.  Indeed, a very small handful of as few as 2 pairs breed in the far north of Scotland, the rest leave for Iceland, Scandinavia, Poland, the Baltic and Russia.  What a joy to have them here, even if only for a few weeks.
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