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Latest migration news 30th October 2009

Martin Hughes-Games Martin Hughes-Games | 15:37 UK time, Friday, 30 October 2009

Here's the weekly bird world news for the week from 30th October direct from our friends at the BTO.

They're here! Fieldfares have started to arrive. A BirdTrack report of 8,000 individuals over the Humber Estuary on Tuesday (accompanied by 6,000 redwing) gives an idea of the scale of the arrival that happened this week. In Staffordshire and Cambridgshire, 3,000 and 1,466 flyovers the following day shows that migration doesn't just happen around our coasts.

The BirdTrack weekly reporting rate shot up as birders saw these Scandinavian immigrants pour in - a real sign of autumn.

A smartly-dressed member of the thrush family, fieldfares can be distinguished from their relatives by their grey hood, ruddy-brown back, grey rump and entirely black tail. Migrating flocks often communicate using a distinctive 'chack-chack-chack' call.

Fieldfare (photo copyright Jill Packenham/BTO)<

There has also been a dramatic rise in reports of lesser redpolls over the last couple of weeks. This is probably the result of birds arriving at wintering sites in central and southern Britain from further north. These small finches breed in Britain, Belgium, Germany, Holland and a few isolated mountain areas in southern Europe, including the Alps. They have a penchant for alder and birch trees and can sometimes be seen with their better-known relatives, siskins.

Look out for jays this week. They are quite secretive in the breeding season but become noisy and obvious in autumn. You can see them in woodland, parks and gardens at this time of year. I've seen them and heard their harsh calls right in the centre of Bristol and even around the main BBC Bristol site.

Jay (photo copyright Chris Bradley/BTO)

One things that makes them easier to see is their hording behaviour. They will return time and time again to a food source, such as a fruiting oak tree or birdtable, carrying off acorns or peanuts to bury for leaner times later in the winter. Jays can carry several acorns at a time, which explains why you may find a few oak seeds growing together in your lawn next year!


  • 1. At 6:28pm on 30 Oct 2009, angelsvbl wrote:

    hi just woundering if you know what the small flocks os birds are we are about two hours from martinmere in lancashire they come over once a day just what to ask you if you or the team would know what they are

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  • 2. At 7:37pm on 30 Oct 2009, piggypaula wrote:

    I have a question for the team please. Where I walk my dog there is alarge paddock with a horse and a handsome stag in it, the stag seems to be protective over the horse when we pet it. But what is strange is that a wild stag stands by the fence facinated by the captive stag and just stares at it, he is always there right by the fence. There are no female deer in the enclosure for competition, so do you know of any reason why the wild stag stays by the field??? I have photos but do not know where to upload them to you. Hope you can help. x

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  • 3. At 10:58pm on 30 Oct 2009, AshR1993 wrote:

    I was wondering how I can attract more birds into my garden that i can take some photos of and I would like to know how I could upload then to you afterwards Thank You

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  • 4. At 08:43am on 01 Nov 2009, wildsagebrush wrote:

    Love this prog but I was surprised no mention was made of the big influx of 'thrushes' + a Red Flanked Bluetail on Tuesday 27th Oct. Spurn had the RFB,4 ring ouzel, 1750 blackbirds, 8500 Fieldfare (Flamborough had 13955 same day) and the Redwing you keep listening for, they had 8300.
    In spite of the lighthearted sections of the prog, which I like and have no problem with, let's not go all 'Blue Peter' and forget the more in depth serious side of this fantastic programme. Please

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  • 5. At 5:28pm on 03 Nov 2009, joycejoy wrote:

    Dear Martin H G,

    I live up in Drumnadrochit -Inverness-shire and last week-end the Red wings and Fieldfares all arrived here in their 100's as predicted.They have stuffed themselves with Rowan Berries, the noise was amazing, they were truly spectacular and I got some photo's of them on my flickr site (under natural09). What I would like to know is WHERE will they go to next - do they move further North or what??? I gots to know..............

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  • 6. At 2:15pm on 04 Nov 2009, angelabohr wrote:

    I live in York but have just returned to my other home in Bergen, west coast of Norway. Today I have had redwings - up to 3 at a time - feasting on my holly berries. I have never before seen them here. Wonder if they are taking a break from the migration from other parts of Scandinavia (to Britain?), until the strong winds die down.

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  • 7. At 11:48am on 06 Nov 2009, angelabohr wrote:

    It seems the redwings I noticed in my garden in Bergen were not on their way to the UK. The weather is beautiful, but they have stayed around. This is very unusual. Could migrating redwings be finding gthat the west coast of Norway is a good alternative to taking the trip over the North Sea?

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  • 8. At 6:08pm on 06 Nov 2009, Ruby Tolhurst wrote:

    Dear Chris & Kate (congratulations on your appointment as President of RSPB, Kate),

    I'm looking for some advice. This afternoon we had a baby greenfinch in our front garden visiting our feeders and staying on our windowsill looking really tired, trembling and like it was an effort to go too far. After about 3 hours we placed a box with some food and some bedding out as we were concerned it had lost its mum. We were able to go quite near the bird and it wasn't really attempting to fly away so we were getting quite concerned as darkness was approaching and we didn't think it would survive. We now have it in a covered box indoors in a quiet room with hay, food and water just to allow it to perk up and to keep it safe. Is this ok, please advise.

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