Monday, January 14, 2013

Song Thrush but no Shrike

Yesterday we drove over to Beeley Moor in Derbyshire to twitch a long-staying and quite confiding Great Grey Shrike. There had been a light dusting of snow overnight so the prospects of some scenic shots of a moor plus frosty-snow looked good. The bird was present early morning and a message came over the pager service at 10:43 that the bird was showing. We arrived at 11:00 - no bird! And no snow. Snow in lowland Nottts but none on the higher ground of Derbyshire. So a dip. We gave it a good hour and a half by which time a number of birders had turned-up but there was to be no joy.
The change in the weather to harsher conditions might mean more thrush movement. Today there were a number of Redwings on the move over Bingham with twenty to thirty birds flying over the town centre as I did a bit of shopping. Still no Fieldfares though.
Beeley Moor, Derbyshire
 On the subject of Thrushes a mate informed me last night that a photograph I took of a Song Thrush some years back on St Mary's had been used to illustrate an article in the Sunday Express. Written by Stuart Winter this piece manages to mix the recent Hobbit film with declining Song Thrush numbers, Greek mythology and English Literature. Quite an achievement! Fortunately Song Thrush numbers are beginning to revive and just to prove it a bird popped-up in our garden this afternoon and spent some time hunting for food.
Song Thrush Today's bird
This is the first Thrush other than Blackbirds to use the garden for feeding this year. Probably a direct result of the overnight snow. At one point there were eight Blackbirds feeding on the lawn, all males. These could be continental birds that have moved here for the winter - a few seem to have longer wings and darker bills than normal. If this weather continues for a few more more days I expect there to be more thrushes feeding in the garden and I might well see some Fieldfares. But probably not a Shrike!
Check out or better still take part in the BTO's winter survey which aims to further our understanding of what is happening to our Song Thrushes and other species of thrush. Log-on to
Song Thrush   Same bird looking for food under today's snow.

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