Many people will have noticed an influx of interesting new species of birds to their gardens since the snow fell. Partly this is because those people are at home during the day when they should be at work, and partly it's because there really are refugees from the bleak countryside coming into our gardens in search of food. It's clearly captured the imagination of the Great British public, with Snow Watch on the BBC this evening taking a good look at the exotics appearing in garden (including Woodcock) and even The Sun carrying an article with bird identification guide (glimpsed over a shoulder on the train).

Redwings in particular have been very numerous and are relatively easily identified, looking like a thrush (in fact it is a type of thrush) with a stripier head and an red/orange area beneath the wing. The photo above is a Redwing plumped up on a snowy branch.


Amongst the Redwings, look carefully and you may also see a Fieldfare (photo above) which is a bit bigger and with a slightly different paint job: bright yellow on the base of the beak, mostly grey head, dark brown shoulders and back, and of course no red blob under the wing. Fieldfares are rarer than Redwings in my garden, having only seen the first one today whilst Redwings have been ever present for the past few weeks (but even more numerous in the last few days) – so here's another photo of a Fieldfare to celebrate and to help you identify them. From this angle at a moment's glance you might think it was a female blackbird but the grey head and glimpse of more mottled belly give it away.


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