Monday, January 25, 2010

Redwing


A few years ago I decided I would like to be able to identify the common birds in my neighbourhood. With the help of my sister Stephanie and a couple of good bird books I gradually achieved my aim. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Quite quickly the mass of similar little brown birds separated themselves out into sparrows, chaffinches, blue tits, great tits and a wide variety of other species. I could even identify male from female in many cases, and juvenile from adult.


It was well worth the investment of time and effort. Whenever I catch a glimpse of a familiar species I smile to myself. And the "hang on, what was that?" moments are a thrill, followed by the hunt to see the same bird again, gather enough information to try to identify it, followed by frantic riffling through the bird books to confirm the id.


I have no wish to see every bird species in the world, or Europe or even Britain. I wouldn't go chasing off somewhere because some rare species had been spotted, or stay in a cold bird hide with a flask of tea and soggy sandwiches. That's part of the fun of birdwatching for some people, but my own goal is clearly defined - I just want to know the birds in my local patch.


So why do I bring this up today? I spotted a seasonal visitor today, the redwing. It's a species of thrush, like the blackbird and songthrush and mistlethrush that stay year-round. But the Redwing is more colourful than these dowdy birds, with its dandy eyestripe and vivid red patch under its wings. It's quite shy and although I am sure it comes to the area every year I don't always manage to spot it.

4 comments:

Bill of Ballaugh said...

Well done, Mel, lucky you. I'm sure I've had sight on one too, over here in West Limerick, but I'm not entirely sure so, until I am, it remains a case of 'was it? wasn't it? Still watching.

yvonne said...

Lovely bird. I live in a birding area here in south Texas on the bay that has oveer 300 species. Lots of migrations through here etc. I love the birds and have been expanding my life list as I travel. Love your blog.

Lesley said...

I love it when the bull finches arrive... but my garden shrubs don't as they lose their buds!

Yellow said...

Do you remember I said I thought I'd seen a redwing at your house about two years ago? It would have been around now as I was probably visiting for half term at the time? I'm over the moon that you've seen them again now.

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