Winter Visitors

Visitors of the avian sort, that is. Last week in a moment of madness, I ventured out to walk along an unfamiliar stretch of our local Grand Union Canal in search of clues to a geocache. It was just an excuse to play with my early Christmas present, an eTrex handheld GPS device, really. I didn’t find the geocache (must practice) but at one point along my walk I noticed I was pushing before me quite a flock of thrush-sized birds. The light was wrong (behind them) and, since they kept receding as I approached, I never got a clear view. I heard their calls, though, and suspected them to be Redwings.

Redwingstanding near breakfast For the most part, Redwings are winter migrants to Britain, arriving October-ish. They may be as common as muck in Scandinavia where they breed in huge numbers but for me, they are a little more special. Our Birdguides disc says that they have a preference for birch trees which, since we are pretty much surrounded by Silver Birch trees, may explain why several Redwings visited our garden today.

Redwing eating breakfast The other reason our garden looked attractive, I suspect, is that it has a plentiful supply of bright red berries in a bush just outside our windows. The bush is actually our neighbour’s but it hangs over the fence between us. Carol spotted the Redwings flying sorties from the birch trees to the bush and enjoying a hearty breakfast. Our garden is usually full of birds but, since we do not possess huge, professional lenses costing £thousands, it isn’t often we get a decent chance to get pictures of them from the comfort of our house.

Carol grabbed her camera and several photographs, including these two. Bravo! I’ve cropped them down a little but the quality can take it. When you get close enough with some light, Redwings are very attractively marked birds.

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