Our country is at present being invaded by winter thrushes from Scandinavia. They will over-winter here and return north in the spring. There are two species involved and you can look out for them whilst walking around the fringes of the Moor.
Fieldfare is larger than a Blackbird or Song Thrush but slightly smaller than the Mistle Thrush but look different to any of our thrushes. They have a grey head and a long grey rump and a black tail. The breast is yellow-orange and heavily spotted in flight. When flying especially in flocks they give out their characteristic call “chacker, chack, chack”.
Redwing are not so easily to hear as they fly over, as their call is a high pitched “seep” but when in the hedgerows, can be easily distinguished by the creamy white stripe over its eye and a pale stripe below the cheek. It gets its name from the rusty-red flanks and underwings.
Both these species on arrival will be starving after their journey and usually choose to eat food that it easily available. Any hawthorn hedge with berries should be checked along with holly bushes and rowan. Sometimes Redwing will be seen flying fast from one hedge to another whereas the Fieldfare often give their presence away when flying over by the call described earlier.
Once the berry harvest is exhausted, these birds will search on the ground for food just like our own thrushes do.
Below are photos of a Redwing, Mistle Thrus, Blackbird and Song Thrush taken recently in Robert’s Park