Bird Watch – Winter Visitors by Darren Shepherd

Goldcrest - (source John Smith, Halstead & District Photographic Society)

Bird life in the Park this January has been quiet, although there are still a few birds about, including some winter visitors from Scandinavia and Russia. The commonest of these visitors is the redwing (turdus iliacus),  which can be seen in the Park occasionally; most obviously at night on migration south, when its “stuuf” piping call can be clearly heard.

The second ‘visitor’ is the fieldfare (turdus pilaris) a slightly larger member of the thrush family which has a blueish plumage,  in comparison to our resident mistle thrushes (turdus viscivorus) and song thrush (turdus philomelos).  Both the fieldfare and the redwing have increased in numbers in gardens this week due to the cold weather.

Some of the blackbirds (turdus merula) in your gardens are also visitors from Northern Europe.  The smallest bird in Europe also graces the Park,  and is a stunner if you can see it.  This is the goldcrest (regulus regulus), which occurs in winter in mixed tit flocks which usually include blue tits, great tits, coal tits, long tailed tits and occasionaly tree creepers – watch out for them in the Park and visiting garden feeding stations.

Today’s highlight was a common buzzard (buteo buteo) which soared over the park at around 1.30pm showing wonderful plumage in the winter sun,  oblivious to the winter sports fraternity below !!

And, finally,  a report of a raven (corvus corax) mobbing a sparrowhawk (accipiter nisus) over McDonalds in Guiseley this morning.

Spring is just around the corner!!

Photographic source – Halstead & Districe Photographic Society Gallery

About Jennifer Inskip Kirkby

Director and Vice Chair of Friends of Parkinson's Park CIC, Chair of Aireborough Neighbourhood Forum and Facilitator of Inskip One-Name Study. Has a degree in Local History (University of Cambridge), and Economics (University of Leeds). Now retired after a career as a Business Analyst and Advisor.
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2 Responses to Bird Watch – Winter Visitors by Darren Shepherd

  1. Graham Booth says:

    I enjoyed your article on the birds in the Park. My garden is probaly less than 1 mile away as the crow flies and in early February in the snows we had a flock of 10 redwings in the garden, at first I thought that they were Song Thrushes but a visit to the RSPB identifer soon put me right. We also get a flock of perhaps 7 or 8 red legged partridge that visit over winter, they take seed that I put down for the ground-feeding birds. Other notable visitors this winter include a great crested woodpecker. Graham, Menston

  2. Thanks for the kind words Graham.The redwing is a very attractive member of the thrush family and is always a pleasure to see.The red legged partridge records are interesting and i presume they will be released birds from a local shoot !!On the woodpecker record i think you mean the greater spotted woodpecker which again is a lovely looking bird,but can be a veracious predator of eggs and chicks of other birds !!The birds are now singing and pairing up ready for spring and we can look forward to some summer visitors in the next four weeks,the first of these will be Chiffchaff and sand martin and ring ouzel,otherwise known as the mountain blackbird which have previously bred at burley moor and can be seen there in march.A very rare visitor from northern europe is currently residing on ilkley moor.This bird is the rough legged buzzard(Buteo lagopus)so named because of its feathered legs.It is more like a small eagle than a common buzzard and is much paler.Happy watching.Darren Shepherd.

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