Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Walk down the track

Today the wind was bitterly cold. I decided to have a look down the track next to our house to see what birds might be around.

I had noticed red wings flying over the garden, singularly and in small groups (above)

The redwing is the UK's smallest true thrush and is a winter migrant. Most arrive October/November and leave March/April. It can be identifed from the song thrush by the creamy strip above the eye and orange-red flank patches. Redwing roam across the countryside, feeding in fields and hedgerows. They rarely visit gardens unless the weather is very cold and snowy - as it is at the moment. However, they may be seen in larger urban parks and I usually see a few each year in our local park (snow or no snow).

As I watched from the backgarden a small flock of startling flew across the corner of the garden followed by a kestrel. They disappeared around the front of the house and I could not follow quick enough to see where they went.

I also saw this lapwing fly over the garden.

The track was quite quite heavily covered in snow and the cold wind brought flurries of snow. These are some of the birds I saw.

Stalings and a redwing, bottom left.

House sparrow. This group were at the top of the bush, but from the commotion there were a lot more sparrows deep in the bush. I also spotted a solitary greenfinch.

One of many redwings fly overhead.

Many redwings were also in the trees. They seemed to prefer trees with bare limbs (no leaves) rather than the semi-evergreens and bushes.

There were many gulls on the roof tops. The usual herring gulls have been joined by black-headed gulls, which seemed to keep setting off a raucous gathering of gulls shouting at each other. The black-headed gulls were in their winter feathers, they have a small black mark above the eye rather than the chocolate brown head colour they have in the summer.

When I returned home I melted the water in the bird bath. Birds need to drink and bathe, even in the winter. Water is in short supply when there is a prolonged cold spell.

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