The Norsemen cometh for Big Garden Birdwatch

Homes for Wildlife

Homes for Wildlife
If you love the creatures in your garden, you'll love our Homes for Wildlife project. This is the place to ask and answer questions about making your backyard wildlife-friendly.

Gardening for wildlife

Follow the adventures of Adrian Thomas, our wildlife gardening expert, and be inspired to create your own wildlife haven on your doorstep. Adrian posts here every Monday and Friday without fail, so make it a date and drop by!

The Norsemen cometh for Big Garden Birdwatch

  • Comments 27
  • Likes

So here it is, the big one of the year, hopefully half a million of us all taking the time this weekend to count our garden birds.

It's our once-a-year snapshot of the health of the nation's gardens.

And I've got my Coxes and Spartans out and ready to try and ensure I get this beauty back in my garden.

Isn't it stunning? Yes, the snows have pushed the Fieldfares over the Downs and into gardens all around here in Sussex.

I took the photo on Wednesday. I don't have a garden big enough for a lawn, so this is actually on my garage roof where I let a bed of moss grow. It's such a safe place for them to feed up above all the cats below.

Every now and then as you're walking around you hear their loud 'chak chak chak'. It is really distinctive from this winter visitor from Scandinavia.

And then if you get a view like this they're easy to identify - it is a identikit bird, with grey head, dark streaked breast over a warm buff background, white belly, yellow bill, chestnut back and grey rump.

But the bit I like the best? The black chevrons along each side.

May your Big Garden Birdwatch be blessed with Fieldfares too!

Comments
  • Missed the BGB for a variety of reasons, mostly the volume of 'traffic' on the site.

    I have got my wife SERIOUSLY interested in the bird watch thing.

    Garden is not big but I have a bird table, seed feeder, nut feeder and fat ball feeder, also a ground feeder.

    I like the posts about the field fare 'we' think we have one, or more' visiting

  • Still got fieldfares in the garden!

  • We have had several redpolls coming on the niger seed for several weeks now.  Never seen one before but they keep coming back.  I have only ever seen gold finches on this feeder before but the redpolls seem to have taken it over at the moment.  AND we had a few days of field fare (beautiful birds) but they left when they had finished the last berries off the holly tree!

  • We've had two visiting our garden on the Cambs/Lincs border for the past two weeks....loving apples...........and our son in Spalding is also being visited by a pair. Never had them visit before this year!

  • mine came to Brafield, Northampton and left before birdwatch after eating red cottonester berries

    Mike Thomas

  • Sounds like you've all been loving your Fieldfares as much as me. Mine have gone now too, but I did cling onto one for a couple of days after the snow had melted - it just couldn't bear to leave the uneaten apples!

  • I too had a couple of fieldfares in my garden in the week leading to the Big Garden Bird Watch, I've never had them in my garden before, I agree they were very bossy & the black birds had to take a back seat in the pecking order. It cost me a fortune in apples but it was worth it , after one heavy snow fall I counted up to 7 fieldfares as they fanned & skittered across the snow as they challenged each other for the apples. I live near Birmingham international airport in Marston Green.

  • Gloria

    We have 14 in our garden the weekend of 19/20th January in Suffolk.  A friend nearby counted about 30 in his garden

  • Forgot to say we live near Hungerford in West Berkshire.

  • It's gone now, but we had a single Fieldfare in our garden last week during the snow. He (or she?) stayed on for a few days enjoying the supply of old cooking apples put out for the blackbirds. I had to look him up in the book to ensure it was a fieldfare not a redwing.  One very territorial male blackbird gave the FF a good run for its money, constantly chasing it around the garden each day, but the FF filled his boots between bouts of aggression!

  • Oh yes, forgot to say, brilliant photo

  • I saw a stranger in the garden and thought it might be a song or mistle thrush but they didn't look quite right. I looked through all my books, (I'm no expert, does it show?) and decided it was a fieldfare, and looking at all comments, bossy, greedy, chasing the blackbirds away and eating the apples I had put out  I think I am right. Well, I thought that would be good to add to my birdwatch. No way. The snow had cleared by Sunday, and apart from one pigeon, or piggon as they are known in my household, hardly a bird in sight, and strangely, my garden is normally full of crows, magpies and jackdaws, I haven't seen any of those for weeks! So, has anyone any idea where they might be, I can hear them but they're not coming to feed, strange!

  • Peter

    We had one; keen on apples. Just made it into the BBW. Near Sudbury in Suffolk

  • Photo of the Fieldfare - just needed to clarify that!

  • Forgot to say- love your photo Adrian