Cold weather and garden visitors.
February has seen some freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall throughout the UK and it was no different here in the Scottish Borders. This has meant a massive influx of birds into the garden for food - including some more unusual ones.
The most exciting bird for me was the incredibly stunning Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris).
The Fieldfare is a member of the Thrush family and is one of our winter visitors from Scandinavia. Normally these birds are found in large flocks in the countryside, feeding on farmland, fields and hedgerows. At the end of last year I was seeing flocks of 300+ in the fields nearby. When winters are harsh however they can come in to gardens to feed, feasting on berries and apples. By the end of the week we had two different Fieldfare in the garden - one guarding the front and one guarding the back. A third one tried to come in to feed but was quickly chased off. They were interesting birds to observe - incredibly feisty and definitely in charge. They would tolerate the smaller birds but any Blackbirds that came near the apples were quickly moved on!
The cold weather also brought a Redwing (Turdus iliacus) into the garden. Another member of the Thrush family that overwinters in the UK from Scandinavia and Iceland, they are quite a bit smaller than the Fieldfare and much less feisty.
They're a pretty little bird, with beautiful cream coloured markings on the eyes and the flash of red under their wing that gives them their name.
A Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) appeared in the garden as well and we had a very brief visit from a Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus).
Now that the snow has gone and the temperatures are higher again these birds have disappeared back into the countryside for a few weeks before they return home to breed.
The Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) has hung around and it's a real pleasure to listen to it singing in the morning. Spring is definitely on its way....
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