The thrushes are back!

It’s that time of year again: calm, clear nights are filled with the ‘seep’ calls of Redwings and the ‘ticks’ of Song Thrushes, whilst fruiting hedgerows and berry-covered trees become the site for a major feast. I do love autumn thrush migration, especially when you can stand on your Uni campus and watch flocks of up to 70 Redwings migrating overhead during the morning!

So yeah, the thrushes are here! Or at least, in Cornwall at any rate. I awoke from our caravan on the 12th to hear my first few Redwings of the year calling before dawn broke, and in the ensuing days witnessed a fantastic arrival of hundreds (perhaps thousands?) of mixed turdus species falling from the sky into the county. It was superb to see flocks of Redwings and Fieldfares streaming overhead, particularly on the busier days when over 500 were noted. My counts builded gradually from the 12th, as noted in the following counts…

  • 12th October – three Redwings
  • 13th October – 158 Redwings, six Song Thrushes, six Blackbirds
  • 14th October – 25 Redwings, three Song Thrushes
  • 15th October – 87 Redwings, nine Song Thrushes, 16 Blackbirds, three Fieldfares
  • 16th October – 498 Redwings, 19 Song Thrushes, 12 Blackbirds, 72 Fieldfares
  • 17th October – 157 Redwings, 21 Song Thrushes, three Mistle Thrushes
By the 17th, the visible migration of birds overhead had more or less dried up, but many were now scattered amongst the various fruiting bushes and trees that line the fields and pepper the gardens. On campus, the most utilised trees took the form of the Yew conifers, which happened to be right outside our main lecture theatre! I spent quite a while on many a day watching them picking these potentially poisonous (to humans) berries and down them with satisfaction – as can be seen in the images below!
So there we are- it really is great to have the thrushes back, and hopefully some more periods of calm and clear conditions will provoke more movements and passages of birds overhead. For now, I shall enjoy watching them across the country in the surrounding area…
 Blackbirds making use of the Yew berries on campus
Arty Blackbird shot
 Song Thrushes
 Redwings
Fieldfares
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