Wednesday, 22 October 2008


The seasons are turning and here's another sure sign.

The wind was blowing from the east. Leaves carried from the trees. Bushes ripe with berries.

And then the distinctive 'cluck cluck' of large thrushes in the sky.

First there was a group of around thirty passing over the garden. Then, as I walked along the paths and lanes around Blidworth there was another group. Again, flying towards the west.

The fieldfare is an annual winter visitor from Scandinavia and Northern Europe. Hundreds of thousands make their way across the North Sea to our more temperate climate as winter approaches. They find plenty of berry-bearing bushes and windfall apples when they arrive and they stay with us until spring.

The birds I saw had made the strenuous crossing and presumably rested somewhere on the Linclonshire coast before flying the eighty miles from the sea to the midlands. Our eastern shores and particularly nature reserves are great places to see them as they arrive and before they disperse. It is constantly amazing to be on the coast and to witness the arrival of these migrants. Like magic, they seem to drop out of the sky from nowhere.

Fieldfares can be attracted to autumn and winter gardens by berberis, cotoneaster, rowan or hawthorn berries. They will also feed on apples. In very cold weather, fresh water too is important.

As this photograph shows, they are a beautiful addition to the birds of Britain.

Photo taken in Rumia, Poland by Adam Kumiszcza.

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