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Snow Watch - we need your help!

Martin Hughes-Games Martin Hughes-Games | 13:20 UK time, Friday, 8 January 2010

Snow Watch has just been commissioned. It's a special brought to you by the Springwatch and Autumnwatch team where we'll be finding out what the big freeze really means for our wild animals. And, as usual, to make it a success we need your help.

What we really need are your stories... your wildlife experiences since the snow began to fall. Have you seen anything extraordinary? Has the weather perhaps thrown up questions you'd like Chris, Simon or Kate to try to answer? How has the natural world responded to the weather where you live?

So please, please, if you have a moment, post a comment below and tell us your stories, your questions, your observations of what's going in the natural world during this, the hardest winter we've had for 30 years.

Thank you very much, and don't forget you can post your snowy pictures on the new Snow Watch Flickr group and send in your snowy videos to the Autumnwatch video uploader. We're standing by to try to get them into Snow Watch!

Update: 22 January 2010: We've made a new post to answer some of your questions and discuss some of your fascinating stories.


  • 1. At 2:44pm on 08 Jan 2010, Charlie Westney wrote:

    The snow showed up a stoat on the wooded hillside area of my in-laws garden, Arnside, Cumbria. They are probably there a lot, but their orangey coats blend into the leaves and undergrowth. It was skipping about, digging, seemingly looking for any unfrozen food! Unfortunatly it was too fast to get a shot on my camera.

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  • 2. At 2:47pm on 08 Jan 2010, Robin Smith wrote:

    Hi great idea for a Snow Watch programme, a nice feature might be for people to send in their pictures of animal tracks for the team to see or identify, i am new to recognising animal tracks so the help would be great and of course the snow is the best medium for animal tracks. I have placed a couple of pictures on the Flickr site so maybe other people will send in more. ( i think mine were a rat but i am not sure)

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  • 3. At 2:55pm on 08 Jan 2010, Skylark wrote:

    A couple of nights ago when the snow began to fall very thickly here in North Devon, I stood outside watching it with the outside lights on & suddenly a medium sized bat flew around the light a couple of times, now I know some bats fly in the Winter, but this was a bizarre sight & especially at that time of night, during a blizzard & sub zero temperatures - I've certainly never seen that before!

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  • 4. At 2:58pm on 08 Jan 2010, Denice_Stout wrote:

    So far nothing much has changed in my area. the foxes are still out every night & there are plenty of birds around.
    The only exciting thing that has happened is a flock of redwings that have decided to take up residency in my neighbours' tree.
    As far as I know I've never seen these beautiful birds near us in the 3 years I've lived here & I'm quite thrilled.

    I do however have one question for anyone who can answer it. in November builders have put up scaffolding to do our guttering, but builders being builders they have yet to do any work..
    Thing is, because of the scaffolding the birds are staying away from my window feeders.
    I'm on the first floor & I've only my window sills to hang feeders from. Is there any way I can attract the birds to them? I've even tried throwing seed on to the scaffolding itself, but apart from a cheeky macpie, no one comes near.

    I don't want to put feeders in my downstairs neighbours' front garden as we have a lot of cats in the area (I'm in Bristol).

    Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

    Perhaps another question about hedgehogs. My mother in-law cares for a rescue hedgehog & she's wondering how she can be certain that her hedgehog survives the winter & if she can check safely to see if it is alive?

    Thanks guys! looking forward to the programme.

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  • 5. At 3:05pm on 08 Jan 2010, Bervanjack wrote:

    A lot has been made about feeding garden birds, but should people be encouraged to feed birds of prey - Red Kites & Buzzards for example? If so, what guidelines should they follow and should it be encouraged in urban areas?

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  • 6. At 3:11pm on 08 Jan 2010, Ann Parker wrote:

    I live in the Southampton area and over the last couple of days, since the snow has been on the ground, a pair of redwings have arrived in the garden for the first time as far as I am aware. What to feed them?

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  • 7. At 3:20pm on 08 Jan 2010, EnglishFolkfan wrote:

    Wonderful, stupendous and superb news that is a Snow Watch Special. Congratulations to all the team on the commission. Them 'above stairs' in the Beeb finally recognise this is the sort of reality telly millions of viewers want!

    This little patch of Nth Shropshire, Market Drayton, has escaped the heavy snow, just had one day's worth 3cm, but has had consistently freezing temperatures since before Christmas. In my (cat proof) 3 yr old wildlife garden (14 bird feeders plus sheltered ground feeding area under gazebo) there have been never before seen birds coming to stuff themselves.

    Because I leave all the flowering plants & shrubs to form seed heads & berries a Charm of Goldfinches appeared to eat the prolific Evening Primrose seeds, I now have a charm bracelet full every day and enjoying the seed feeders too. Solitary Song Thrush, Chaffinch and Blackcap have now joined the regulars of Robin, Blackbird males & females, House Sparrows, Collared Doves & Wood Pigeons. Plus the Blue Tits are already in mating chasing frenzy.

    My nearby nesting pair of Twa' Corbies were eating their supper balanced on a roof hip silhouetted against the rising sun last week.

    The house sparrows appear to have been/are roosting in their house eaves nesting haunts and several times at dusk I have seen a bird hop into one of my bird nest boxes presumably to shelter for the night.

    Question/item for the Show:

    Can you do a piece on the plight of our Bees during this almost unprecedented cold spell. Kate will, I am sure, be (sic) worrying about this & very interested to know what happened to the Native Bee population in the Summer of 1963 following the 3 month Winter freeze then. I was in London so don't remember the upshot on the countryside/plant fertilisation/honey crops of that event.

    With the mite problem and other troubles already decimating our Bee numbers just how much will British wildlife suffer this year if this weather causes a lack of Bees. (Encourage people to import Bees from approved stocks abroad perhaps?).

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  • 8. At 3:38pm on 08 Jan 2010, LateNightSkies wrote:

    How fabulous! Its just brightened up my day.. wonderful respite from exam revision!

    I think a lot of us would happily watch seasonwatch.. with the 2 specials you are doing, if not more you might as well just do a whole series! Or is that just too much to ask for?!

    We've had a black cap for the last couple of years, she came this year in mid December. Since last year she came before the snow in february, ever since she turned up we've been on our guard for a bit of the white stuff. She fiercly guards our nuts and bird table not giving the others a chance! I wouldn't want to be on the receiving ends of one of her attacks!

    We have recently noticed she is forming a coalition with our very fat robin.. why would this be? She detests all other birds but is happy for the robin to stick around. Now they seem to be sharing the chasing duties. Its wonderful to watch, but has meant we've had to move some of the feeders away to give them a meal!

    I am also interested to know how birds find their food in snowy conditions like this. How well can birds smell especially in comparison to their other senses.. if everything is covered in snow surely they need to rely on senses other than sight to find food and avoid predation? This idea has fascinated me for ages .. it would be wonderful to find out.

    I will be adding my piccies to flickr now! Just have to get an account first!!

    Do you know when Snowwatch will be broadcast? So I can fit it in to the revision timetable! I'm grinning..! Sorry for the long comment!

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  • 9. At 3:49pm on 08 Jan 2010, LateNightSkies wrote:

    Sorry.. just thought of another question!

    I saw a Buzzard today circling overhead, mewing like a kitten. What happens to birds of prey like buzzards in this sort of weather. Usually in winter they are eating earthworms etc from the ground, so what do they turn to when the ground freezes over?

    Thanks Alice (LateNightSkies)

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  • 10. At 4:06pm on 08 Jan 2010, Sue wrote:

    Like Anne in Southampton, I live in Bedford and have about a dozen Redwings in the garden. They have stripped both holly bushes in the last couple of days but are not the least interested in the bird tables or feeders. Any help please on what they might like to eat cause they seem an awful long way from home

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  • 11. At 4:19pm on 08 Jan 2010, Sparwoman wrote:

    In this cold weather will the birds still be getting ready for breeding? Like pairing up, setting up territories etc? Just a quick question.

    Great to have a snow watch special I was dreading waiting till spring thanks team :).

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  • 12. At 4:29pm on 08 Jan 2010, snady lady wrote:

    Great news a snowatch special,i,ve noticed different species of birds using the feeders,nothing unusual.Just pied wagtails and song thrushes but this is the first year they have been in our garden.Lovely surprise an extra portion of our favourite programme.

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  • 13. At 4:33pm on 08 Jan 2010, Dennis wrote:

    7th & 8th of jan redwings visited my garden in north warwickshire probably due to the svere cold and snow did manage to get some great photos.

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  • 14. At 4:33pm on 08 Jan 2010, sally hughes wrote:

    I have noticed more birds flying into the windows since the snow and minus 13 temperatures (yes not just in Scotland in Wales too) and twice a robin has come into the house when I have had the back door open. I thought that this was maybe because of a Christmas Wreath on the back door with red berries on it but I don't know why it would then fly inside - perhaps they are cold!!

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  • 15. At 4:34pm on 08 Jan 2010, PaintedLadyHan wrote:

    Can i apologise now for the fact that this sounds like a child's question but it has got me wondering when on winter walks.

    There are lots of typical Christmas card Robins around which are really fat and rotund and look like tennis balls on little legs. However there are lots of other Robins who look less cartoon like and more like normal bird shape. Is there a reason for rotund robins or have they just had too much Christmas pudding? Which is the normal shape for Robins or is it a male/ female difference or old/ young difference?

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  • 16. At 4:38pm on 08 Jan 2010, PaintedLadyHan wrote:

    Oh another question.

    With it being soooooooo cold for so many weeks now and the same temperature as antartica, does it affect hibernating mammals and insects? Will the insects freeze and will the cold eventually get to the mammals too?

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  • 17. At 4:48pm on 08 Jan 2010, JL wrote:

    Since the snow came, we have been visited by a flock of fieldfares (in the middle of suburban Berkshire), which I have never seen before. They have been eating the windfall apples and apples left on the trees that were too high to pick. They are very agressive to other birds and themselves but very beautiful.

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  • 18. At 4:54pm on 08 Jan 2010, LateNightSkies wrote:

    Up until a few days ago, I have been hearing and conversing with a Tawny Owl at about 5:30 - 6:30 each night (I've been putting them in the BTO Survey!).. but just before the snow the other day this stopped. Is there any scientific evidence to prove that birds and other animals know when hard times are coming?

    Also, how will the cold weather affect winter migrants, they come here to escape cold temperatures further North but are now subjected to similar temperatures.. will the continue to move further south or just try and stay put and stick it out?

    Sorry.. all the question are now coming out of my head! Its like this news has kind of unlocked an inquisitive and curiosity complex in my head!

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  • 19. At 5:03pm on 08 Jan 2010, Yvonne Fenter wrote:

    At Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital near Chichester (Chris is one of our vice-presidents) many of our patients in our outdoor aviaries have had to be brought indoors because of the cold weather. The ones remaining outside are having to be checked frequently, and their food and water is freezing very soon after it is put out for them. As I've spotted on Twitter updates etc from a number of other wildlife rescue organisations, and as commented on elswhere on here, we are also seeing more than normal numbers of "window strike" casualties, where birds are flying into windows. I think it would be interesting if the team could explain why this is happening.

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  • 20. At 5:07pm on 08 Jan 2010, Julie wrote:

    On Saturday 2nd Jan, just before midday my sons and visiting friends saw a young goshawk attack a black-headed gull in mid-air. The gull fell mortally wounded onto the road in front of our neighbour's house. My 12 year-old son (who's bird mad, I was cleaning out his pigeon loft at the time) picked up the gull and brought it round to me where it died in his arms. The goshawk sat on my neighbour's roof enabling us to debate on it's identity (large raptor, grey, striped breast, yellow legs and brownish back). Our pigeons were flying at the time in bright sunlight as were other gulls, collared doves and wood pigeons. We are about 500m from the wooded slopes of Stinchcombe Hill, Gloucestershire, but although we've seen goshawks before in the Forest of Dean, this was the first goshawk I've seen on our side of the river.
    We didn't want to encourage the bird to hunt over our garden so the dead gull was placed on a fox path at some distance away from us. I've felt guilty about depriving the young goshawk of a meal (even though I really don't want it to develop a taste for pigeon!). We haven't seen it since late afternoon Sat. and just hope it moved into the wooded area where there are plenty of wood pigeons.

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  • 21. At 5:12pm on 08 Jan 2010, Julie wrote:

    Rosting behaviour seems to change in this really cold weather. We watched the mass starling roost at Slimbridge on Sunday 3rd Jan and then again yesterday, Thursday 7th. It was much colder yesterday afternoon and instead of performing their acrobatic display the flocks wheeled overhead and spiralled straight down to roost. I've also noticed that the starlings who roost in our roof come in much earlier at the moment as do the sparrows who roost in our group of 12 nest boxes on the side of the house. This is the first time that all the boxes have been occupied even though some have bee up for over 3 years.

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  • 22. At 5:16pm on 08 Jan 2010, Katherine Birkett wrote:

    Have you seen anything extraordinary?

    Yes - Black-headed Gulls in the garden making a beeline for discarded sausage rolls and the sheer number of blackbirds, starlings, collared doves, woodpigeons and house sparrows piling in to my bird feeding areas!

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  • 23. At 5:16pm on 08 Jan 2010, nooboo wrote:

    As i am just getting into watching birds and enjoying having a garden since moving out of city centre, the snow has thrown lots more new experiences my way, i saw my first fox, found out just how big wood pigeons are (that was a shock) and watched an increase in bird (and squirrel) activity

    one question though, i read in a birding book (trying to learn!) that robins dont use bird feeders, but i have one that uses my sunflower heart feeder, is this then unusual or should i not trust everything written down?

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  • 24. At 5:17pm on 08 Jan 2010, Emma Rusher wrote:

    My husband and I have a whole variety of birds in our garden, but I noticed, even before the snow arrived, that we had a female Black Cap visiting our bird table, which is normally very unusual as Black Caps migrate for the winter. Therefore this is very unusual behaviour, I wonder if the experts know why this may be? The Black Cap feeds from our bird table every single day without fail and is always chasing off all the other birds.

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  • 25. At 5:28pm on 08 Jan 2010, Katyblackbird wrote:

    I have a few feathery visitors to my Garden each day and one or two furry ones in the form of squirrels ( Grey). But the funniest thing I've seen is a Magpie sliding down a neighbours roof (I wondered why he simply didn't fly off!) and a couple of Crows ice skating without skates!
    Can't wait for Snow watch xxxxx

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  • 26. At 5:42pm on 08 Jan 2010, BigChris wrote:

    Here in Rutland (England's smallest county) it is the bird life that I have noticed a big change in. Birds seem to have lost many of their inhibitions in a desparate bid to find food.

    I have seen goldfinches devouring lavender seeds on housing estates as people walk by.

    Redwing, Fieldfares, blackbirds and thrushes are rife in the apple trees and cotoneasters on our road and other farmland birds are making an appearance in the gardens - a male Reed Bunting showed up as bold as brass at the weekend.

    While it is a great time for wildlife watching I can only begin to imagine what it must be like for our tiny birds in this prolonged freeze especially those that are insectivorous in the main?

    Here's hoping there is a welcome break for them soon.

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  • 27. At 5:45pm on 08 Jan 2010, Evielane wrote:

    Since the snow came I've had a Green Woodpecker, and a flock of Fieldfares and Redwings, which are all firsts for my garden - I'll be posting some pictures on flickr.

    I've noticed the Fieldfares are very aggressive and I can't help wondering why they are spending so much energy in these freezing conditions attacking each other and chasing off the Blackbirds when there is plenty of food for them? They seem to spend more time fighting than eating, and it's more full on than the usual squabbles between the Starlings. It must exhaust them.

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  • 28. At 5:47pm on 08 Jan 2010, rohanf wrote:

    a couple of things have changed where i am. definately not as many small birds in my garden as there were last year and for the first time ever i have got rooks feeding off one of my bird feeders which contains a fat cake. is this because they can't get to their normal food?

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  • 29. At 5:57pm on 08 Jan 2010, 1234 wrote:

    This cold weather has bought lots of exciting different birds to our garden in the past few days: first it was a black cap one lunch time and a couple of minutes later came a redwing. As we watched more and more redwing turned up - there must be onwards of 7 or 8. Today we also saw a couple of field fares in the gardes. Lets hope for more excitement in the next few days.

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  • 30. At 6:00pm on 08 Jan 2010, Phil Airey wrote:

    Yep, I've definitley noticed how edgey the birds have become. I guess this is a bitter struggle for survival now, and the blackbird(s) that visit our bird table, will no longer tolerate the starlings sharing it with them. Infact one of them and a starling had a right old set to this morning, and to my surprise the starling saw him off. Next, the little robin tried his luck (the fresh bread and wheat was too good to ignore) and the starling wouldn't have him around. I have never seen them squable like this, they are normally tolerant of each other. This can only be the terrible weather. Poor things.

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  • 31. At 6:02pm on 08 Jan 2010, watchingwinter wrote:

    As I would expect there has been increased activity among the regular garden visitors including blue tits, great tits, robin, blackbird, goldfinch, dunnock but very few green finches. I wonder why this may be.
    Earlier in the week, I noticed a sparrowhawk, a regular predator in the vicinity, being mobbed by a flock of starlings some thirty strong.

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  • 32. At 6:02pm on 08 Jan 2010, Spurs4everMore wrote:

    Like many others here I have seen many differences to a 'normal' winter. On Christmas Day a female Blackcap (never before seen) turned up and is still here vigorously guarding the apple tree where its favourite feeder is. It doesn't take on the starlings but all else get a real chasing. In answer to previous contributor: the Blackcap is in many parts of UK now no longer only a summer visitor as described in my 25-year-old bird guide.

    Also new to the garden are a number of Redwings, at least four possibly more. Beautiful birds who seem happy scrubbing around in the hedge with no interest in feeding table.

    Starlings have always been a rare visitor but currently there are dozens - possibly due to the amount of food I'm putting out right now!

    A pied wagtail is here and a Greater Spotted Woodpecker visits the nut feeder daily. Also great numbers of the usual residents, tits, blackbirds, chaffinch, etc.

    Question: the Redwing and Thrush are closely related but why such different residency patterns, i.e. the former only appearing in the winter? Also why only a female Blackcap? Why no male?

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  • 33. At 6:03pm on 08 Jan 2010, Julia Pilling wrote:

    We have a bird box fitted with a camera. During the last few days a Blue Tit has taken up residence. It flies in and out during the day and at night sleeps there with its feathers puffed up.

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  • 34. At 6:03pm on 08 Jan 2010, Kelly Hignett wrote:

    I ventured out for a lunchtime walk yesterday and snapped this photo of a hungry heron trying to fish on a frozen lake here in the village of Madeley, Cheshire:


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  • 35. At 6:05pm on 08 Jan 2010, Spurs4everMore wrote:

    Following post no. 32...I also saw a starling trying to get into a tit-nesting box!! It failed...

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  • 36. At 6:05pm on 08 Jan 2010, Caroline Appelbe wrote:

    The snow seems to bring out the best in people! Our lane has not been gritted and I can't get the car out, so I walk into town to stock up on supplies. Everyone says 'Hello!' Perhaps I should always walk not drive, better for me and the environment!!

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  • 37. At 6:08pm on 08 Jan 2010, adam buxton wrote:

    My fiance is a bit of a twitcher, so she is always on the look for birds. Out in the snow last night we found a finch or nuthatch type bird hoping along the road side in the dark.

    It made no attempt to fly away and was very subdued. Thinking the possible worse we picked it up, again un resisting. We decided to take it in, placed it a box in the house and exposed it to the warmth in the house.

    A few minutes later the bird came back to life, we can only assume it had fallen from a nest or in the cold wind been some how injured or at least shook up.

    A few minutes after it became active and with no sign of injury we let it out in the enclosed back yard to give us a chance to recapture it should we need to.

    The bird made a few hops then flew into the near by trees.
    It was a wonderful opportunity to see the bird up close, and a experiance to help out a creature in need.

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  • 38. At 6:11pm on 08 Jan 2010, Chris wrote:

    I'm currently putting out 3x as much bird food as normal and it's all eaten. Luckily I keep a 2nd 25KB bag ready...

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  • 39. At 6:21pm on 08 Jan 2010, francoisejeanne wrote:

    I live in Watford just a few hundred yards from the Bushey Woodland Trust. I only have a small garden - about 40' by 20' but I and my neighbours have trees and I have several bird feeders. A flock of 19 redwings arived in a tree overlooking my garden a couple of days ago. Magic!

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  • 40. At 6:22pm on 08 Jan 2010, NinajP wrote:

    Redwings have begun to feed on the holly berries overhanging our garden in GreatTotham. Several Snipe seen on the Estuary at Goldhanger and flying over the B1024 between Goldhanger and Heybridge. Lots of fieldfares around as well.

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  • 41. At 6:27pm on 08 Jan 2010, birdfreak46 wrote:

    Last week, just before the really heavy snow and freezing temperatures, my neighbour saw a hedgehog running through her garden, stopping every now and then to route out something from the few patches of exposed grass. She went to get her gloves to catch it and take it to a centre but it had disappeared. I checked on the internet and found that hedgehogs can wake up several times over the winter and since it looked large and healthy enough we decided it was probably OK. Is it possible that the hedgehog knew this hard spell was coming and woke up to have a good feed of worms to fill up again before going back to sleep? Thanks - Carolyn, North Yorkshire

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  • 42. At 6:30pm on 08 Jan 2010, stella1412 wrote:

    Is the photo on the bbc snow watch page of the red deer in snow for real? its wonderful! Does anyone have any more information about it? Where was it taken? Can i get a copy? thank you! Sorry if this is posted in wrong place but the forums I've found don;t seem to have had any activity for 5 weeks.

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  • 43. At 6:39pm on 08 Jan 2010, birdfreak46 wrote:

    At 02:30 Monday morning a fox wandered through our estate with something in it's mouth, at around the same time Tuesday morning there were two foxes walking past sniffing at the bin bags left out for collection. They did not break into any of the ones near me. The next day my neighbour saw only one again, but at a later time of around 03:30. All the foxes looked healthy, with bushy tails and clean dry coats, so they must be finding enough food at the moment. Would the two together have pared up already for spring mating or would they be last year's young still going around together? One was slightly larger that the other. Thanks - Knaresborough, North Yorkshire

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  • 44. At 6:41pm on 08 Jan 2010, Dixon_456 wrote:

    The snow provided the perfect opportunity for some new perspectives on my local wildlife. I have known for ages that there was a fox den in the valley next to my house as the frequency of foxes was too high to be far flung visitors but I could never follow the tracks... until ...... queue snow. After 2 days failing managed to find both the entrance and exit. Left it be as did not want to disturb anything but was brilliant to actually find where there were living after all this time. No doubt they will move now.

    On a previous attempt to find the fox den I managed to creep up (thanks to the snow) on some fighting squirrels and found their nest. Was amazing to see this behavior which I had only previously seen on Attenborough's 'Planet Earth' (i think).

    The snow and clear skies has also made it great for photographing the birds that frequent my garden and the valley close by so all in all very happy the snow is here.

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  • 45. At 6:42pm on 08 Jan 2010, jeztorrance wrote:

    Some fantastic stuff so far. Many thanks! Please keep those stories and observations coming in and keep an eye out over the weekend.

    @stella1412 that photo is for real. It's a bought in photo so unfortunately I don't have any more info.

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  • 46. At 6:42pm on 08 Jan 2010, Neal Pearson wrote:

    Dear PaintedLadyHan

    When you're as small as a Robin it pays to puff up your feathers for insulation, and the perfect shape for conserving heat is a sphere. That is why so many little birds look rotund on Xmas cards. They are doing their best to keep as warm as they can! That's also why dormice and I curl up in all a ball when we hibernate!

    Regards, Neal Pearson.

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  • 47. At 6:44pm on 08 Jan 2010, Sally Wilson-Town wrote:

    Just before Christmas, when we had our first heavy snowfall, a flock of redwings descended on our holly trees and stripped the berries. A great sight - have never had them in the garden before.

    Today a very hungry jay came to the bird feeders and managed to hang upside down eating from the fatball container for some time. Our resident robin has taught himself to use this fatball feeder too.

    The woodpigeons are managing to land on the small platforms attached to the feeder poles - they quickly polish off the food there and then stretch as far as they can to feed from the hanging seed feeders.

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  • 48. At 6:55pm on 08 Jan 2010, Liz and Martyn wrote:

    During the first snow fall before Christmas we were pleasantly surprised to see a Great Spotted Wodpecker on our suet balls, he visited our peanut feeder in the summer and no sign again until the snow came. What a wonderful sight it was.

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  • 49. At 6:55pm on 08 Jan 2010, eabm wrote:

    We have more than 10 redwings on our pyracantha at this time, not seen them here before in Marlborough, Wiltshire.
    Nick Beach

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  • 50. At 6:58pm on 08 Jan 2010, wtgdi78 wrote:

    Snow Watch - as already commented - what a brill idea, thanks!!
    Also as others have said, we've been thrilled to have redwings for the first time,(Worcestershire) but sad that the blackbirds are very aggressive towards them. What to feed them? We don't have holly berries left.
    Also had male and female black caps who ignore the usual residents and just get on with feeding.

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  • 51. At 6:59pm on 08 Jan 2010, paul grimster wrote:

    in the last few days we have seen for the first time a grey wagtail in our garden we live in bracknell in berkshire the snow is about 7 inches deep and the birds yellow breast and rump stands out very well aganst the snow could not get a photo as by the time i get the camera it has moved

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  • 52. At 7:01pm on 08 Jan 2010, Jen wrote:

    Our resident Green Woodpecker is struggling to extract worms from our frozen grass. What food can we put out to help him? Thanks!

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  • 53. At 7:08pm on 08 Jan 2010, LeonJay wrote:

    We get a lot of Jays in our garden in the winter, where do they go during the summer?

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  • 54. At 7:13pm on 08 Jan 2010, Rob Black wrote:

    We have had a male Blackcap take up residence in the back garden for the first time. It seems to have a liking for stale jam donuts. It is also very aggressive toward sthe other small birds, chasing away everything up to the size of a starling.

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  • 55. At 7:21pm on 08 Jan 2010, caz1966 wrote:

    We too have had Redwings and Fieldfares since the snow arrived and I haven't put anything different out as food. Like blackbirds, they LOVE fruit, apples and pears especially. I cut them into quarters so there is more to go round. What with the fresh fruit and the sultanas I buy on a regular basis, it's costing me a fortune, but worth it.

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  • 56. At 7:23pm on 08 Jan 2010, Hilary Doyle wrote:

    Yesterday, when my husband and I were spading the snow off our road, we saw a red kite soaring overhead. I have never seen one in Binfield (near Bracknell) before and presumed it was looking for food. I feed the birds in my back garden and wondered if there was anything I could do to help red kites. Is there a particular food (apart from other birds) that would help the kites in this weather?

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  • 57. At 7:25pm on 08 Jan 2010, caz1966 wrote:

    In response to Jen. Our woodpecker likes peanuts out of the feeder but seems to enjoy my homemade fat cakes more. He comes every day.

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  • 58. At 7:32pm on 08 Jan 2010, Margaret Priestley wrote:

    Just to let you know I have been doing my bit for the wildlife especially the birds - putting out fresh water, filling the containers up on my bird table, nuts, seeds, etc. even cutting up fruit for them.
    Tonight my daughter shouted to me to go and look out of her bedroom window. There on some land at the other side of a rear road behind my home running around, jumping up and down, chasing one another were 2 foxes. I didn't realise we had any in the area. The tree area where they seem to be living isn't overly large and am surprised we haven't seen them before. I would throw some food out for them but don't want to draw attention to them because there are some residents in my neighbourhood who will if they see them try to get rid of them. It was a lovely sight to see. When the land was fenced off by the land owner most of the trees were pulled down and we have lost a number of birds now. We do have wood pigeons (6 of) and blackbirds that come into the garden for feeding.
    Any advice re the foxes would be helpful. I am presuming that they are young ones, so their parents might make an appearance as well. One of them also looked to have a limp, but it didn't stop it from what appeared to be having fun.

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  • 59. At 7:33pm on 08 Jan 2010, Josey Travell wrote:

    "2. At 2:47pm on 08 Jan 2010, Robin Smith wrote:
    Hi great idea for a Snow Watch programme, a nice feature might be for people to send in their pictures of animal tracks for the team to see or identify, i am new to recognising animal tracks so the help would be great and of course the snow is the best medium for animal tracks. I have placed a couple of pictures on the Flickr site so maybe other people will send in more. ( i think mine were a rat but i am not sure)"

    -I think this is a great idea!I often see loads of different tracks near where I live, but can't always tell what they are!

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  • 60. At 7:34pm on 08 Jan 2010, Alistair Farquharson wrote:

    We've got two feral pigeons who were sitting on eggs in two separate nests just before Christmas in some of our large, draughty barns in Aberdeenshire. We thought that nothing would come of it due to the cold snap (last night -20C), however those eggs have hatched and the babies are now developing adult plumage!! We're stunned that the parent birds are managing to feed themselves as well as their brood. Does anyone else think this is unusual at this time of year?

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  • 61. At 7:37pm on 08 Jan 2010, denydoodle wrote:

    Here in Eastbourne I've been putting out stale cake, bread and raisins on a tray for the birds, as well as the usual peanuts, sunflowers seeds and fat balls. Apart from the resident tits, blackies, and starlings, I have today seen a flock of Redwings eating the holly berries as well as some Fieldfares, plus a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Hope to be able to get down to the shops to replenish the supplies tomorrow as they are getting through the sunflower seeds at a rate of knots!

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  • 62. At 7:47pm on 08 Jan 2010, Sue and Sarah wrote:

    Great idea to have Snow Watch :-)
    Today in the garden 100 m from the sea in Worthing we had the following more unusual (for us) visitors to the garden: 5 Mistle Thrushes, 3 Red Wings, a Snipe, a Fieldfare and possibly female Cirl Bunting or a female Yellow Hammer. We have been putting more ground feed down than usual but also the south facing border in our garden has no snow on it compared to the surrounding countryside, roadside or inland so these birds have been enjoying pecking in the earth.

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  • 63. At 7:50pm on 08 Jan 2010, fiona wrote:

    Living in Notingham we have not had the great depths of snow as elsewhere but searing bone freezing frosts. I was walking my daughter to school at just before 9am when we saw what looked like a bird in distress at the side of the road. It was wheelong around on one leg trailing its body on the ice. I thought it must have been struck by a passing car. I went towards it to see if I could help thinking I may need to take it to the local vet. As soon as I got near it seemed to come to and flew off with purpose into a nearby tree. I think it was trying to bathe in the reflective ice? I make sure i have not only food out but also water but it does freeze over very quickly.

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  • 64. At 7:55pm on 08 Jan 2010, pip rowe wrote:

    We have lived in our house on the sussex coast for nearly 20 years and this cold snap has bought us our very first garden Fieldfare

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  • 65. At 7:56pm on 08 Jan 2010, Sarah J P wrote:

    A couple of days ago I noticed sparrows ripping pieces off the pampas grass seed heads in the corner of the garden and carrying them into a mass of creepers on my neighbour's shed roof. They usually do this when it's nesting season but I've never seen this behaviour at other times. Are they using the fluffy strands for insulation of some kind?

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  • 66. At 7:59pm on 08 Jan 2010, Duncan McGaw wrote:

    We have a couple of bird feeders hanging from the soffit of our porch. As well as the numerous blue tits, coal tits, great tits, robins and a pair of nuthatches, these are regularly visited by a neighbourhood grey squirrel which hangs upside down from the gutter to feed.
    However, yesterday in the snowy and freezing conditions, we noticed it had pushed its head and upper body right up under the soffit, beside the feeders, so that only its lower body and tail were showing. It appeared to make no movement at all for the best part of an hour and we became concerned for its welfare. The birds coming and going from the feeders were brushing its tail, but no reaction. My daughter went out to see if it was OK and even touched its tail and took the photographs which I will load up to Flickr. We could see it was breathing normally, - then, suddenly it scampered off. We assumed it was taking some shelter from the freezing conditions.

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  • 67. At 8:09pm on 08 Jan 2010, AdamLCanning wrote:

    I went around my area with unwanted Apples that I got from a local supermarket a long with a bag of seed and put them out, for Fieldfare and Redwings.

    I'm yep to go to each location of my area to photography and film the results.

    Wildlife Filmer Adam ;-)

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  • 68. At 8:26pm on 08 Jan 2010, Paul Cave wrote:

    Yesterday whilst out walking down the track that is my lane to the Village to collect some rations a neighbour had kindly gone and bought for me, I decided to take my camera to get even more detail for next years Christmas Cards, when I was stopped by some movement in the snow.

    I stopped and crouched down to take a better look without disturbing what was happening too much. I was then able to witness a Stoat dispatching a Rabbit at least 5 times its size. It's efficiency was amazing, it knew exactly where the jugular was and within, what seemed like seconds it was all over.

    Unfortunately I stood up to take a photograph of it trying to drag it's prey away and was duly rumbled, however I did get an image of the Stoat on it's back legs looking down the lane in disgust at being disturbed, just before it bounded of into the undergrowth.

    I will be trying to upload the photo onto the Flikr site.

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  • 69. At 8:29pm on 08 Jan 2010, clare1965 wrote:

    We live on a hill in the Wye Valley in Herefordshire. The last snowfall was 10" deep. We regularly get deer in the garden. I've been desperately trying to catch a good photo, but the crunching snow gives me away! Only one worth submitting so far.

    Whilst out walking in the powder yesterday just outside our garden boundary we spotted a dead wasp lying on the very top of the snow. In addition, on New Year's Day in the midst of the cold snap, I was stung by a wasp, hiding in a jumper left out for few a days in our loft room. 8 days on and the sting is still there. Has the severity of the weather disturbed their winter hibernation?

    Looking forward to the show.

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  • 70. At 8:36pm on 08 Jan 2010, kate hillaby wrote:

    Since the snow I became concerned about the birds- I do have a feeder which is constantly covered in great and blue tits, the robin tries to feed from them but not happily I fear.
    I set up an area on the ground for the ground feeders and have since been rewarded with a rather greedy female blackbird but a bonus of today 3 song thrushes- which was great. Now the problem is to keep the cat occupied away from the songbirds!

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  • 71. At 9:34pm on 08 Jan 2010, marilynann wrote:

    Yesterday there were many starlings in the garden trying to bathe in what water was left unfrozen in the birdbath. I saw one bird acting as if having a dust bath but this was in the snow. None of the other birds did this so was this bird particularly clever?

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  • 72. At 10:07pm on 08 Jan 2010, Susan Hall wrote:

    We have many Blackbirds in our garden and usually they feed on the ground but recently they have learny to feed form the bird table itself. They are being very aggressive defending their territory and food.
    The other day we saw two black birds bathing in the melt water on the pond. Some of the ice/snow had melted and the birds were washing themselves in the water. It was a peculiar sight as it was very very cold but at that time it wasn't snowing - very unusual !!!!!!!!

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  • 73. At 10:13pm on 08 Jan 2010, MaryNL wrote:

    Interested to hear of all the redwing sightings. Walking to work along one of our North London suburban roads, I was showered with snow whilst walking under a tree. I looked up to see a group of eight or so redwings move a bit further inside the garden.

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  • 74. At 10:33pm on 08 Jan 2010, Kevin Hutchins wrote:

    On Sunday January 4th a couple of Redwng Thrushes were seen eating red berries on an unknown evergreen large bush. These birds not seen before in this bar/club garden in Allington, Maidstone.
    By Friday there are now 20 plus Redwings gorging side by side with Blackbirds on the same branches. Are they really just visitors as they are so similar to other Thrush?
    one tree is now bare of berries and they seem to move on mass to another.

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  • 75. At 11:12pm on 08 Jan 2010, EnglishFolkfan wrote:

    Will there be news of how the Bustards, esp the two new ones rhubarb & crumble (?) are faring in this cold weather. Are they being monitored. Be great to have an update on their progress, the report by Chris when he first saw them was a joy to watch. Many thanks.

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  • 76. At 11:33pm on 08 Jan 2010, Tony Fleetwood wrote:

    I have today seen a bluetit going in and out of the nesting box in our garden with thick snow on the ground. We live in Ware, Herts.
    Is this a nesting first for Springwatch?

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  • 77. At 11:54pm on 08 Jan 2010, FIONA SHARP wrote:

    A question for the team:
    The snow and the very low temperatures have been accompanied, for us at least, by some very bright part of the day. Is this confusing the birdlife as we have seen one pair of blue tits checking out the nest box already and several House Sparrows with what seems to be nesting materials in their beaks. Or are they finding places to roost in the cold weather and are building them up to keep themselves warm?

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  • 78. At 00:09am on 09 Jan 2010, Krista Thomson wrote:

    The snow has bought new species to our garden in Cobham, Surrey. On Thursday (07/01/10) we had two Fieldfares feeding on the dead apples on one of our espalier trees, a Brambling and a Redwing.

    We are in the middle of a housing estate with a dwindling amount of trees around as more neighbours chop them down (argh!!)but we still get a fantastic amount of species. We are lucky to have Painshill Park and Wisley on our doorstep but it still a reasonable flight in bird terms to us.

    I'm pleased but gobsmacked they've turned up. We still have our regulars - 20+ Goldfinches, Starlings by the ton, G.S.Woodpeckers, Dunnocks, Greenfinches, Bluetits, Greattits & Robins - but Thursday was special. I'm glad the kids were snowed off school otherwise I would have been at work & missed them.

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  • 79. At 01:09am on 09 Jan 2010, supercolliewobble wrote:

    Glad to hear there is to be a SnowWatch! Will look forward with interest.
    The weather has meant feeding costing a fortune and local pet centres running out of bird food - but watching what's going on in the garden has been great (if not for the birds!) We have 3 robins and 9 blackbirds waiting at the front door to get fed - one of whom got so impatient that he ventured into the hall to see why his suet pellets were taking so long in coming! For the first time we had a group of fieldfares visiting the trees across the road and for the past three days I have seen a flock of over a hundred flying overhead before sunset. Another first was a magpie on the bird table. We have also had a buzzard, being chased by gulls, above the house and as we live in a town I can only think that the cold weather has made it look closer to houses for food.
    A webcam birdbox was a most welcome Christmas present so I hope I'm as lucky as the others who have already had visitors to theirs......watch this space

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  • 80. At 03:08am on 09 Jan 2010, littlepawprint wrote:

    You know that line from Dickens about nothing stirring in the house at Christmas, not even a mouse? Just before the severe cold weather and snow at Christmas, we caught a house mouse in a humane trap and for a few days it lived in an empty plant terrarium with water and food and a small tube with tissue and newspaper to nestle in. We were reluctant to release it as it was very cold here in Scotland even before the snow started. It seemed quite happy for a few days in its new home, then one night it started a 'great escape' bid.

    The terrarium was made of glass and the mouse began jumping up to catch the top edge of the lid and dangling by its front legs, hitting the glass with its teeth to try to break it. I can still see its little back legs pedalling against the glass! It couldn't stay up for long at a time, but after two nights there was a large crack in the glass lid and and in one of the walls and it was clear that we had to do something before the mouse horribly decapitated itself. It was obviously too cruel to keep it in captivity - however comfortable we thought it was - as it was driven to escape at all costs.

    We decided to let it go the next night in a rural field about 3 miles from the house. It was provided with plenty of nuts and seeds and the small tube for shelter and was placed deep in the undergrowth. However, with the onset of the snow shortly afterwards, we're very doubtful about its chances for survival.

    We're not feeling very good about sending the poor thing out into the freezing countryside and not releasing it back into the loft to see out the winter (or even killing it outright in a snap trap, which might have been more humane).

    What do you think? Could it survive the freezing temperatures with food and shelter to hand providing it could avoid being predated? I've got a vague memory of Bill telling us that mice hibernate but this little fellow, as a house mouse, didn't seem interested in doing this. We haven't seen or heard any others so far, but we won't be sending them out into the winter cold to freeze if we do. What a Christmas!

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  • 81. At 08:36am on 09 Jan 2010, ledburylasschris wrote:

    I have never seen so many birds in my garden!
    The most unusual visitors have been the Redwing and Fieldfare and Pied Wagtail.
    I have the neighbourhood's Goldfinch and Redpoll population visit here.
    All the usual birds are visting - Blackbird, Bluetit, Blackcap, Starlings, Robin, Sparrow and others.
    I live within the market town of Ledbury, Herefordshire so I help this information will be of help to you.

    Thank you all for your wonderful programmes.

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  • 82. At 09:09am on 09 Jan 2010, Hevs wrote:

    Ryde (Isle of Wight) Saturday, a flock of at least 30 fieldfares is demolishing the pyracanthus berries (they'll be gone by tomorrow at this rate!). They are such aggressive little birds, they spend more time chasing each other off, and I've seen grey feathers flying on several occasions! What surprises me is how "twitchy" they are - unlike our usual domestics, as soon as a movement is made, they're off (albeit not for very long!!)! Are they much less used to humans where they normally live?

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  • 83. At 09:35am on 09 Jan 2010, Hevs wrote:

    Hevs again - sorry - update that flock of around thirty to at least TWICE that many, and add redwing on top! My berries may not last until tomorrow! The fieldfare don't seem to go to ground - they dislodge a huge amount of berries to the ground, but they don't seem interested in those, or the feeders suspended beneath the berries - is that normal, or is it just because my little patch is quite enclosed, although surrounded entirely by larger more open gardens (with lots of trees, including a huge - completely stripped - holly)?
    This is the first time in 5 winters here that I've seen them.

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  • 84. At 10:22am on 09 Jan 2010, Sandra Kirby wrote:

    I've been working from home for the past few days which has given me fantastic views of upwards of 20 Fieldfares perched in a single tree in the garden. Very exciting but a bit like a Hitchcock film! Also some Redwings have joined in - they are stripping red berries from an unknown tree & eating apples left on the tree. Haven't seen any of the aggression reported elsewhere here - they seem quite happy sharing with each other and with the blackbirds. I live in Milton Keynes, so a lot of parkland near by, but never seen them in the garden before.

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  • 85. At 10:23am on 09 Jan 2010, FIONA SHARP wrote:

    We are seeing many more birds this winter and for two days this week we have seen a Red Kite overhead. They are in the area but further up the Neath Valley so it was a definite treat. We cant fill the feeders quick enough and are also putting out currents and apples for the ground feeders as well as dried mealworms. Keeping the little pond clear is practically impossible so we are putting out water daily in various dishes. Its lovely to see but we worry so much about them at night.

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  • 86. At 10:25am on 09 Jan 2010, jacqueline1 wrote:

    We have been amazed to see a magpie constructing a large nest at the top of a tall nearby tree. The nest is a ball shape, about 3' in diameter!

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  • 87. At 11:09am on 09 Jan 2010, PaintedLadyHan wrote:

    Having had an extra week off work after Christmas i have been out walking every day in various places. Everywhere i have been there seems to have been loads of long tailed tits around and i noticed there are quite a few photos of them on the flikr pages too.

    Also regarding post 46 thanks for your reply Mr Pearson or can i call you Neal? Very interesting, i see that lots of birds are puffing up to keep warm i assume they are trapping air to in their feathers to keep warm but as the Robins get sooooo huge was just wondering if another explanation.

    Maybe something for everyone's favourite geek - science with Chris - How animals keep warm in this extra cold weather!

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  • 88. At 11:33am on 09 Jan 2010, GillW4 wrote:

    I never expected to see redwing in my small back garden in Chiswick, west London but I have just seen about 8 eating the berries on a cotoneaster. The birds were quite large and fat (and there are considerably fewer berries on the shrub now)so surviving quite well in the snowy conditions. I've never seen them before but I can confrim that they are beautiful birds!

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  • 89. At 11:36am on 09 Jan 2010, rokkitt wrote:

    I'm lucky to have all kind of birds from wrens & finches to sparrows to greater spotted woodpeckers who are regulars at my garden throughout the year. The snow has broguht a wealth of different birds visiting my garden including redwings, yellow hammers, wagtails, and goldfinches. It's a shame I don't have a decent enough lens on my camera to take photo's.

    The most strange behaviour has been from the blackbirds. There are several pairs that fiercely protect their territories across several gardens around me. I'm sure they wouldn't use up so much energy if they didn't keep chasing each other away! Anyway, I was amazed to see 3 males and 1 female all tolerating each other's presence in their bid to eat and were just feet apart. So long as a few feet were between them, they let each other eat - It's a bit like a peace treaty of sorts. Fascinating to watch!

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  • 90. At 11:42am on 09 Jan 2010, gill may wrote:

    I live in the middle of portsmouth, the most wildlife we usually have are a few house sparrows, the resident blackbird and mice. Recently just before the snow came we spotted a kestrel sat on our fence eating a mouse, we think it sits there regularly as there is a nice gap in the snow on the fence where it was sat.
    When we had all that torrential rain just before christmas we spotted a fox curled up in nextdoor's back garden.(we live in the middle of a long block of houses, there is no entrance to our back gardens, to get to our back gardens you would have to either walk through the house, or climb about 20 six foot high fences from either end of the street, oh, and we have an alsatian living nextdoor on the other side!)
    And now we have a flock of about 10 redwings, which have been around for the past three days. Today the resident blackbird has been constantly guarding it's birdfood in our back garden.

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  • 91. At 12:22pm on 09 Jan 2010, Christine Williams wrote:

    Hello from Cheshire, we have had at least 13 Blackbirds/henbirds in the garden this winter, we have never seen so many in one place before, what is going on? We do offer a good bird restaurant could this be the reason? Also we have had 5 Redwings! We are happy to have them all dropping by.

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  • 92. At 12:39pm on 09 Jan 2010, Jackie wrote:

    We have song thrushes in our garden in Bristol for the first time for at least 10 years - loads of them! They seem to be really enjoying the apples we've put out - perhaps because they can't get water?

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  • 93. At 12:54pm on 09 Jan 2010, thistles39 wrote:

    We have at least one (or more?) hedgehogs, nesting in a bought "hedgehog house" in a sheltered part of our garden. We placed this on top of a concrete slab (as a base) in the autumn and covered the house with a piece of roofing felt, over the top and sides. We provided plenty of straw for the hedgies to nest in and they brought their own twigs and leaves in.
    We are concerned about the "big freeze". We live in Central Scotland and wondered if there is anything else we should do to help the hedgies or whether they can survive in such sub-zero temperatures? We haven't checked on them, as we are unsure about disturbing them when they are hibernating. Advice welcome, thank you.

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  • 94. At 12:58pm on 09 Jan 2010, JOE CAMPBELL wrote:

    Just thought i would let you know we have lots of redwings in the area this winter (hebburn upon tyne), obviously brought in on the north easterly winds. looking for berries . a very beautiful bird.

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  • 95. At 1:15pm on 09 Jan 2010, Tamster007 wrote:

    Like JL from Berkshire, we too here in Bristol have started see flocks of Fieldfares since the snow arrived. I too have never seen them before - and we don't often get anything more exotic than then norm here, except for our neighbourhood Sparrowhawk.

    But what a treat to discover what it was - very exciting!

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  • 96. At 1:40pm on 09 Jan 2010, Goldfinch wrote:

    Hi Team, this is great news you are doing a snow watch! My garden has been busier than ever before with an amzing number of bird species. I have a large resident flock of Tree Sparrows who come to the feeders every day! Recently since the cold weather started I have had Yellowhammers and bramblings in the garden and today I have seen my first ever Reed Bunting in the garden!

    I'm also pleased to have 4 grey partridges coming in to feed on food dropped from the feeders. I understand these are not a very common sight these days.

    Looking forward to seeing the programme on wednesday.

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  • 97. At 1:49pm on 09 Jan 2010, Liz and Martyn wrote:

    Hi there we only did a post yesterday but this morning after clearing paths of snow and putting out apples,raisons and all the usual goodies on ground and in the feeders we sat and had a coffee waiting to see what birds we would get today. We had a pair of Fieldfares join the party, to be honest we have never seen them before so it took a while to distinguish what they were. lovely to see them however they are pretty aggresive over their food compared to the Blackbird,Starling and Thrush but to be honest who can blame them in this weather. Though we have noticed there dos'nt seem to be that many of the smaller birds around today think the cold has affected them through the night. There is still the occasionl Bluetit,Great Tit,Chaffinch and a few others but no where near as many. Lets see what tomorrow will bring. We live in a village called Yarwell Nr Peterborough.

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  • 98. At 2:17pm on 09 Jan 2010, Jackie wrote:

    Just had a flock of fieldfares in our tree to join the thrushes. So two new species so far this winter!

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  • 99. At 2:37pm on 09 Jan 2010, jill wrote:

    Took a few photos of a bird that flew into my Sompting, Sussex garden for a late breakfast today.
    I think it was a woodcock.
    He spent around half an hour snacking and foraging mainly under a large conifer.
    My photos don't do him justice as they are slightly distant and unclear (I was reluctant to diturb his probably much needed meal, so kept a fair distance from him)
    He then flew off in an easterly direction.

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  • 100. At 3:01pm on 09 Jan 2010, Sam Dinista wrote:

    Today on my post round on a Brighton housing estate, I'm sure I saw a Woodcock flying out of someone's back garden. I thought it was a wader at first, but looking through my bird guides, I'm now thinking Woodcock.
    It was rusty brown all over, and had a long thin straight beak. Really surprised me.
    Also this week, Meadow Pippets all over the estate.In the four years previous, I have never seen a Meadow Pippet whilst out on delivery. Today I saw one that had appeared to have buddied up with a Pied Wagtail. Everywhere I delivered to, I could see their little footprints criss crossed in the snow.

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  • 101. At 3:18pm on 09 Jan 2010, thistles39 wrote:

    Trying to identify different birds in the garden during the snowy weather, I have spotted a Brambling a few times, along with a short visit by a Fieldfare, both of which were chased by the resident Mrs Blackbird, who spend all day chasing the sparrows, but the starlings don't get chased easily, also think we have some Dunnock? but they are very similar to the tree sparrow. Also some Blue and Great tit's visit regularly.
    Like other bloggers, can't keep them going in food and fresh water.

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  • 102. At 3:19pm on 09 Jan 2010, wagtailwatcher wrote:

    We have recently seen a pied wagtail in our back garden, he is very pretty and it is the first time we have actually seen one in the garden! After putting out the remains of the Christmas cake , including the marzipan he has been hopping backwards and forwards all day long!! We have seen him roughly every 20 minutes throughout the whole day and he even came right up to the french windows, peeped in and seemed to be looking at us, as if to say "Thanks very much, if there's anymore cake, I'm over here!! It has been just fascinating watching him.

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  • 103. At 3:56pm on 09 Jan 2010, caro11 wrote:

    In my west london suburban garden i have a plum tree, I was watching the birds at lunchtime and Im still here...so far the usual robin , blue tits and pigeons have been joined by 8 Redwings, 4 blackbirds (pyracantha berries ) a flock of goldfinches, at least 18 as far as we can count, a thrush and a wren. I think the cats have got their legs crossed but they will have to wait till its dark! They are not going out to disturb this winter scene.

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  • 104. At 4:29pm on 09 Jan 2010, karenb wrote:

    Hello, new to this but today I had a NUTCRACKER feeding on and off all day on my bird table!!! he fitted all the pictures and he was seen by all the family who could also see the difference between the Nutcracker and the Starlings.....yes I did take a photo but its too fuzzy to post which is a shame.....but I keep watching for him, filming through a window is not good.....when he wasnt feeding our resident woodpecker who looks very pretty against the snow.
    I also heard the Tawny owl's last night as did my daughter who lives 30 miles away.....would have reported it on the site but I cant be doing with all these map references???
    I never would have thought bird watching could be so much fun...

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  • 105. At 4:49pm on 09 Jan 2010, Nickann wrote:

    Hi there, just wanted to tell someone that we live in Gosport and had the pleasure of seeing approx. 25-30 fieldfares in our garden. Really impressed as we hadn't seen so many in such a large group, obviously making the most of the snowy situation!

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  • 106. At 4:52pm on 09 Jan 2010, Sarah J P wrote:

    Great excitement in our household this morning - our first ever fieldfare! We'd never even seen one before, let alone had one in the garden (we live in south Warrington maybe half a mile from open fields). It's been here all day eating the apples I put out and shares very politely with the starlings but chases off any blackbirds who come close. Its favourite spot seems to be underneath our 12 ft trampoline where there is no snow but plenty of old leaves. It's nearly dark now and it's come out on to the snow - presumably trying to eat as much as it can in the last few minutes of light? I hope it will be back tomorrow - it's been a real treat having it around.

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  • 107. At 4:56pm on 09 Jan 2010, max wrote:

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  • 108. At 4:59pm on 09 Jan 2010, max wrote:

    I think I have a flock of about 40 Water Pipet's in garden,devouring berry's for last 2 days, could this be, it's not a bird I've seen before?

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  • 109. At 5:01pm on 09 Jan 2010, closetothemarsh wrote:

    For the first time ever we've seen fieldfares and pied wagtails today in our still snowy garden. I know that they're not particularly rare birds, but for us they are. We're more used to seeing sparrows, blackbirds, tits, goldfinches, chaffinches and robins and the odd bird of prey.

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  • 110. At 5:02pm on 09 Jan 2010, Brenda Jones wrote:

    For the last couple of days we have been delighted to see Redwings in our South Hams garden. Today they were joined by 4 Fieldfare. Conditions are bitterly cold , not rising much above -3 during the daytime and wind now getting up and making it even colder. No snow since Tuesday night but that hasn't cleared away. More forecast for tomorrow. Extra food for birds tonight before they settle!! Keep warm everyone of our little feathered friends!

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  • 111. At 5:08pm on 09 Jan 2010, Twitchy Whiskers wrote:

    Mr Blackbird is a regular visitor to my garden, but since the heavy snowfall, his visits have been more frequent and each time I've seen him, he's been munching away at the snow. Is he doing this to quench his thirst? I've now started putting out bowls of water. I've also uploaded some photos of him to the Snow Watch group, one of which shows him 'eating' the snow.

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  • 112. At 5:14pm on 09 Jan 2010, LateNightSkies wrote:

    Just a quick question.. If we see a bird or animal that we would like to be identified are we allowed to pop the picture on the Snowwatch flickr group? Would it be seen?

    I have one which I took a couple of days ago..its not overly good, the only one I could get but could add a description and see? It may be I am being a bit stupid but, from a distance, I have no idea what it is. I have tried looking at pictures on the Internet of what I thought it was but nothing quite matches.

    Sorry I've made loads of comments now! Hope I'm not harrassing you, just have lots to learn!

    Alice (LNS from the messageboards)

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  • 113. At 5:17pm on 09 Jan 2010, Bridgette Bradely wrote:

    We live in Derby and were really excited to see a flock of Redwings come into the garden. They have been with us for a few days now feeding on the Pyracantha berries. Now they have been joined by a flock of Fieldfares. What a treat! We have never had these birds feeding in our garden before.

    In an attempt to keep them well fed, we have been putting currents out for them, but they seem reluctant to feed from the ground or from the bird table. So my other half spent a chilly 20mins placing currents onto the spikes of the pyracantha. It worked a treat and the birds thought it was great. I thought it was sweet and very amusing! But 10 out of 10 for dedication to our feathered friends!!

    The wrens are grouping together to keep snuggly and warm at bedtime! I counted 7-8 going into their tiny roosting nest outside our bedroom window!

    Please keep feeding the birds and let's not forget the birds in the local park.

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  • 114. At 5:17pm on 09 Jan 2010, mr_bluesman wrote:

    Please can you do a short piece with simple facts on the tolerance of temperature by hibernating and non hibernating species?

    For example, very successful mammals like brown rats - in order for them to become critically ill or die, what sort of temperatures are we talking about? And how does this compare with hibernating dormice, for example.

    Also, how about invasive animal species, like Harlequin ladybirds - will this weather be beneficial in keeping their numbers down in the short term?

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  • 115. At 5:56pm on 09 Jan 2010, Susan Frances wrote:

    Before the " big freeze" the fat balls in my feeder were regularly being eaten by blue tits. They are now hardly being eaten at all, though I did see one bird on there today. I hope it doesn't mean that the birds are dying in this exceptional cold? Looking forward to Snow Watch next week. Thanks BBC.....it will be well watched I am sure.....hopefully well publicized beforehand too.

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  • 116. At 6:37pm on 09 Jan 2010, Russell Baker wrote:

    Over the last few days we have had a bar headed goose on the river outside our house in Hertfordshire. Apparently it is quite rare to see these birds in the UK and I just wondered if anyone knew if this is likely because of the weather we have had?

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  • 117. At 6:58pm on 09 Jan 2010, owlhouse wrote:

    at 4.30pm every evening our garden is filled with wrens they arrive from all directions and try to roost in a small nesting box we have outside our kitchen window it soon fills up - with the maximum I have counted in being 14 Any overspill goes further up the garden to an open barn where there is a little basket nest hanging where up to 12 have crowded into that.We also have another small nest box but they do not like that and it is sad to see the latecomers flying off into the night to find alternative roosts.
    But the feeling of pride we have at being chosen is just fantastic

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  • 118. At 7:12pm on 09 Jan 2010, owlhouse wrote:

    Our resident barnowls are loathe to go out in these temperatures so they must be existing on less food than normal that is if they can catch any at all in the snow covered landscape.Can anyone help with knowledge on minimum food supply to keep them alive during this cold spell.
    We have noticed the kestrels are taking more garden birds than mice & voles but barn owls being mainly nocturnal don`t have this choice.
    We also have a healthy population of Tawny owls in the area and also little owls, we are very worried about their welfare.Can anyone out there give us reassurance please

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  • 119. At 7:42pm on 09 Jan 2010, lynda pas wrote:

    This is a brilliant idea, Snow Watch, on Thursday 7th Jan in the morning, I was looking up at the tree in the garden and saw not just one but three Fieldfares, wow, havn't seem them for quite a few years, in the next moment they flew away to a next door neighbours garden and low and behold there were about a dozen Fieldfares, now I see at least one per day. In our local echo there was an article about Fieldfares and Thrushes in the local area flocking in, it meantioned our town of Ferndown, it was good to know that I wasn't the only one witnessing a most fantastic sight. Today in my parents garden, which is just 10 minutes drive away, a solitary Fieldfare ventured into the garden, started to eat from the ground and then proceeded to chase off a female blackbird, who then in turn sent out a warning call. I look forward to seeing what happens tomorrow.

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  • 120. At 7:54pm on 09 Jan 2010, lynda pas wrote:

    After looking through a few of the comments I forgot to add that I have had a pair a black caps, never seen them before and what an amazing site, now the male is down most of the time, havn't seen the female for some time but hopefully she will be back. The gardens seem to be full of activity hunting for food on the ground as well in the feeders, is so lovely to see.

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  • 121. At 8:09pm on 09 Jan 2010, Janine Wignall wrote:

    Hey guys, when taking the dog our we found an interesting print in the snow, we have decided it is definatley a bird, but wondered if you could work out what it might be. i have placed the picture in the flickr site under username j9ofwidford, obviously the picture doesn't have a scale but we reckon the wing span was proabably around 2 foot. Hope you can try and enlighten us. Thanks janine.

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  • 122. At 8:28pm on 09 Jan 2010, EnglishFolkfan wrote:

    Finally think I've identified a singleton who came to the ground feeding area under a covered gazebo today: a Chiffchaff. Hopefully it will return tomorrow so I can be sure, but as this is North Shropshire am somewhat amazed at it's appearance.

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  • 123. At 8:42pm on 09 Jan 2010, Gill Jones wrote:

    Just to add to the sightings of redwings, we've had 6 in our garden today - after the berries! We're in Bristol and not seen them before. Have they come far?
    Looking forward to Snow Watch!

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  • 124. At 8:43pm on 09 Jan 2010, kate wrote:

    I'm quite new to the bird watching scene so when I looked outside today to see the most beautiful bird i have seen for a while i had to try and get a closer look, as the garden is covered in snow it was easier than i would have first thought I managed to get a pic but it wasn't great.

    I soon had the description so I checked up on the bird identifier online, to my amazement i had seen a RED STATUS bird the REDWING..
    I wasn't 100% sure at first I had the right bird but it has been in and out of the garden all day so I'm now certain it was one, the was also a dark brown bird with it which followed almost like it was it's partner but not sure if that was a female or male.

    I hope these keep comming to my garden all though they are known to live in the Highlands of Scotland i believe!

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  • 125. At 8:51pm on 09 Jan 2010, Dawn wrote:

    We've had a bit of snow in Jersey - although nothing like the rest of the UK! - and it seems to have brought a huge flock of about 40 field fares with it.

    We've lived here for 18 months now and I've not seen a single one before, but now the sky is full of them. They descended on the garden and stripped almost every berry off the pyracantha and the holly hedge, and are now just sitting in the trees as if wondering what to do next!

    I've been wondering what food we should put out for them and where to put it. Dried fruit maybe? They don't come down to the ground at all like blackbirds or thrushes.

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  • 126. At 8:52pm on 09 Jan 2010, pat donnelly wrote:

    i was puzzled to a species that was feeding on the apples in my garden and i was stuggling to know what it was until i went on your web site and the first picture i see was the very bird that was eating the apples ..it was a fieldfare which i have not seen before as the day went on another one came into my garden i must say a very bossy bird pushing out the blackbirds so they had all the fruit

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  • 127. At 8:54pm on 09 Jan 2010, karenb wrote:

    Whoops.....my comment (104) about the owl calls I have heard should have read, I heard the call of our local owl pair....AND my daughter also heard a pair of owl calls at her address 30 miles away....sorry.

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  • 128. At 8:54pm on 09 Jan 2010, Sue wrote:

    No need to decide to feed the birds down here in Hampshire. First morning of snow, last Wednesday, our resident blackbird perched on top of the greenhouse, looking towards the kitchen as if to say: OK, when are you going to put some food out? As I only had stale bread, I scattered a slice over the drain cover which was snow-free. Later that day, Mr and Mrs arrived and have been calling every day since - plus drinking from the pond, which I'm keeping a pan-shaped section (heated water) ice-free. Sorry if bread is the wrong thing, but they are eating it.

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  • 129. At 9:01pm on 09 Jan 2010, Tracy Kinehan wrote:

    We have been feeding the birds for years; we have two bird tables, seed hoppers on the cherry blossom tree and a bird feeding station. Plus two bird baths. We get loads of Starlings (ASBO’s as we call them!) And I am happy to say over the past year the number of Sparrows (Tree and House) has increased.
    We live in a rural housing estate and frequently visited by Blackbirds (a large number of them since the cold spell) Thrush, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Green Finch, Chaffinch, Common Gull, Black Headed Gull, Magpie, Robin, Collard Doves, Wood Pigeons, Piedwag Tail and Carrion Crow. We also saw Long Tailed Tits and a Redwing today
    Over this cold and snowy spell we have a very tame blackbird who comes within inches of my foot when I go out each morning to fill up the bird tables. Sometime I have to duck as he swoops down from the fence; I think it is probable the male from the pair that nested in said Cherry Blossom tree. I have also found that our garden birds can be “called” (at any time of the year) I simply go out and rattle the bowl full of digestive biscuits and all the ASBOS appear on the house roof and trees!
    Just a quick note. I don’t buy fat balls but make my own. Cheap lard from the supermarket melted and added to a plastic bowl (the bowl needs to be able to stand the heat) filled with goodies. Wait till it is cool and setting and then freeze. Then warm up the plastic bowl in warm water for a couple of seconds so you can tip out the fat block onto the bird table. You can also stand a skewer in the middle as it sets so you can hang it from the bird table. It keeps them going for days, costs a lot less than the manufactured fat balls and means that there is a constant supply of food for all when you are not about to keep topping up their able. One word of warning, they smell the house out when you are making them!

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  • 130. At 9:11pm on 09 Jan 2010, Seacarrot wrote:

    Delighted at a Snow Watch special.

    I feed the Birds all year round, and even more so during this cold weather, I've had some really interesting visitors to my Garden recently, Field Fares, Red Wings, Pied Wagtail, Pair of Reed Buntings, and a Snipe. :-) Hoping to see more interesting birds and I'm enjoying watching them having a good feed.

    However I've noticed birds bathing in the water I provide..I'm assuming there must be a real benefit for them to do this at this time of year, and not just because they fancy a dip.! I'll provide warm towels for them in future.!

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  • 131. At 9:34pm on 09 Jan 2010, Steven wrote:

    Lots of new experiences. We just moved to a new house just east of Reading. Just before Christmas we had a pair of Blackcap arrive. Also one ring necked parakeet on the bird seed feeder. I see them in small groups far from home but haven't seen any at home before this one visited the feeder.
    Since the new snow last week we have had Fieldfare, the Blackcap are still around, and some exciting arrival yesterday - three male and two female Reed Bunting. They are being very bold - we had new windows fitted today and they were coming within about 5 metres of the windor fitters in order to get to the seed table.
    One incredible story - a colleague of mine was driving home between Christmas and new year after dark and saw what she thought was a small albino ferret. I have since shown her a picture of a winter stoat (ermine) and she agreed it was that. Anyway, it was on the pavement by the road and she had assumed it was an escaped pet and was coaxing it because she wanted to take it into the house right by the pavement. Very strangely, it came right up to her and allowed her to pick it up. However, it then struggled hard and bit her so she let it go very quickly! This must be unusual! Has anyone else experienced such bold behaviour from a stoat?
    Enjoy the snow!

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  • 132. At 9:51pm on 09 Jan 2010, chrisym01 wrote:

    I live in Whitley Bay in an urban area and today looked out to find a male pheasant in my back garden. After a little walk around in the snow and poking around in the corners, it flew up onto the my tall privet hedge and sat down for a while. Something frightened it and off it flew. A little later it had returned and after another walk around the garden, it flew up onto my pergola which is covered in a Chocolate Vine and bedded down on it. Have checked late this evening and it is still there, like a big speckled puff ball. Marvelous but very strange. During daylight hours it keep stretching up a making two bark like noises -- any ideas why? p.s. my Mum had a Grey Wagtail in her garden today, never seen around here before.

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  • 133. At 10:00pm on 09 Jan 2010, David Lownds wrote:

    Redwings have come to our garden in Stoke on Trent for the first time ever today (09.01.10). Obviously they cannot find food on snow covered fields where they normally are. I have found out that they eat worms and berries in the winter so I have picked off berries on our winter berry bushes and put these on the ground. Also taken the snow off the grass where I can, but it is frozen so I have softened the ground up by pouring warm (not hot) water on the lawn in patches. After a while, it has had an effect with the Redwings coming down to feed with the Blackbirds and Song Thrushes.

    Digestive biscuits (34p per value pack from Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys etc) go down well with all birds.

    Spending about £3-5 per day on feeding birds at the moment. Saw quite a lot of people about feeding ducks and geese at the local lake (ParkHall, Stoke on Trent), also saw a lady making an effort scattering seed all around the lake. Her efforts inspired me to go home and get a bag full of nuts and a packet of biscuits and go to the local woods and at the bottom, middle and top part of the woods setup feeding places. Now I will be doing this every morning before going to work while this cold snap takes hold.

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  • 134. At 10:06pm on 09 Jan 2010, Katherine Birkett wrote:

    Sighting from today:

    Went YET AGAIN to re-stock bird food levels and one of the shops I went to was a farm shop near where I live. Within the shop, a robin has taken up residence behind where the bags of bird food are and is showing no signs of imminent departure!

    Although it doesn't yet come to feed out of your hand, it will fearlessly hop up onto the desk area by the cash register to take a good look at you! Methinks this robin will not go hungry during the cold weather!

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  • 135. At 11:26pm on 09 Jan 2010, MelodyShine wrote:

    Great news about Snow Watch. Would be lovely to have a programme maybe monthly to see how our wildlife is coping!

    Have had Wood Pigeons that feed in my garden for years, and build unsuccessful nests in my tree yearly, got to know them well. A cat in another garden killed one before Christmas. Anyway, the other one still came down to feed. The week between Xmas and New year we let the Dogs out and found this Wood Pigeon on the ground not moving. We picked him up and found he was freezing cold with no injuries, brought him in put him in a cage (cage kept as we tend to find Pigeons in need!), warmed him gently and provided food, water and peace. After a few hours he picked up and started to eat etc. Next day decided to try and release as food is always in our garden, he would not fly and just sat on my hand. We brought him in again and sought advice from professionals. Unfortunately by the next day he had died. Feeling his body after I noticed just how thin he was, and that fat Wood Pigeon look was all feathers. So even in my tiny garden with bird food provided we are one wild bird down due to the freezing weather.

    We already have hanging feeders, bird table and food on ground, but since then we have built a low 'Pigeon' table with food and water. Other Pigeons have already started turning up.

    Questions: Could the Wood Pigeon have been pinning for killed mate?

    Something strange we have noticed since it's been very cold and snowing is a few birds individually are coming up and sitting on the back door step. Only thing we can think of is they are taking advantage of heat loss from back door, any ideas?

    The only good thing with this freezing, snowy weather is people who were not feeding wildlife, now are. I had to search for bird food today as places are selling out.

    One more thing, sorry this is going on a bit! In Xmas Watch Kate was throwing mince pies and Xmas pud on the ground, if you have a Dog you should not do this as raisins are harmful to Dogs and can kill them.

    Oh yeah, and feed the Foxes :)

    I'll shut up now.

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  • 136. At 11:32pm on 09 Jan 2010, Frances Barker wrote:

    Butterfly in the snow

    I have a tiny tragic tale of a butterfly who became confused by the central heating in my home. Breaking out far too early, the small tortoiseshell was fluttering at the window. Little did she know that on the other side there was nothing for her, no Buddlia or nectar, nothing that wasn't covered with snow or ice.

    Her brown body was covered in fur, which seemed to make a mockery of her fate. She couldn't last outside but there was nothing for her inside. She reminded me of a character in a Katherine Mansfield short story as I opened the window and watched the streak of orange stream up and out into the flurry of snow. Becoming a tiny speck, a small coppor coloured snowflake, brilliant but hopeless.

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  • 137. At 11:58pm on 09 Jan 2010, sue brewer wrote:

    This is wonderful, it's like a late, extra special Christmas present - we have been given a surprise Snow Watch programme, just when we were getting withdrawal symptoms from the lack of Autumn Watch or Spring Watch.
    I've often wondered, when the weather gets really icy, do birds' feet get stuck to the tree branches? If so, how do they get their feet free, because the feet of small birds seem so delicate? If the temperature remains below freezing, could birds stay stuck to the tree for days, or do their feet contain some kind of built-in antifreeze?

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  • 138. At 00:19am on 10 Jan 2010, julesyjules wrote:

    I live near Ashburton and have had a fieldfare in the garden feeding on the pear that I left for it.
    Have also seen lots of Redwing feeding where I work at Forches Cross Newton Abbot.

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  • 139. At 00:30am on 10 Jan 2010, PaintedLadyHan wrote:

    Skylarksue i was having similar thoughts today when out walking. The ducks and geese were swimming in the area of a pool that wasn't frozen over as there was running water flowing into the pool. I watched a duck standing in the flow of water and was thinking how cold the water must be. There were loads of others walking on the ice. The birds have feathers to keep them warm but do their legs and feet get cold? Is there a point where the temperature becomes a problem for their feet?

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  • 140. At 00:55am on 10 Jan 2010, Debbs wrote:

    Good news about a special programme. Can you make an APPEAL for people/groups to feed animals/birds in other places as well as their gardens please? We noticed that Bluewater Shopping centre which is built in an old quarry with a man made lake/river surrounding it was completely frozen and the area surrounded by snow. We are concerned about moorhens, coots etc and how they will survive. Could the shops be appealed to to help? I don't think they'd listen to me but may listen to the Beeb or RSPB - what do you think? We'd love to be able to afford to feed them but can't at the moment unfortunately. There must be thousands of areas around the Country where food could be left - is there any way of getting people to get together and organize something?

    We live in a semi-detached in Dartford, Kent and feed squirrels, birds, foxes and a hedgehog all year round. We are on the flight path between the Heath and a fishing lake so get many strange visitors even though we have a small garden. The strangest being 3 ducks on the grass and a Heron standing on the roof of our tiny bird table! The snow has brought our annual visit from a blackcap but no sign of his mate this year. 2 Redwings (a first) and a Fieldfare (a first). They have stripped Holly and pyro's but are now feeding on apples, grapes and even seeds! We have quite a few nut and seed feeders around but worryingly a lot of our tits and greenfinches have not appeared so they are not emptying. No sign of any woodpeckers yet either. We have a bird house table attached to a wall which is used by collared doves, squirrels, robins and sparrows, a birdtable in the middle of the garden which is being used by a million pigeons (!!!!), several Jays, collared doves and the odd starling and brave robin or blackbird. We regularly have several blackbirds using our small garden without fighting and usual number is 8 at a time. The dunnocks feed on the floor underneath wall feeder. Robins are putting up with each other. Chaffinches, blackbirds, thrushes and various others spend a lot of time under sheltered trees raking over the dead leaves. We now put lots of seed and crumbled fat balls there too. Over the other side of the garden is a sheltered bit of grass under a conifer so here we put apples (going through about 6-8 a day at the moment), seed, bread, grapes (mincepies finished but thrush loved them). Trying currants etc tomorrow. We have an old birdhouse table on the floor under our apple tree and fill that with unroasted peanuts and seed which the squirrels and Jays use as well as any passing bird. At night we put the fox biscuits there to protect them from snow/frost. Usually see several foxes during daytime as unfortunately a lot of them have mange and are quite desperate but I fear the cold snap has killed them off as we have not seen even one. No sign of hedgehog but squirrels are still out despite cold. Having to feed early morning, lunchtime and then late afternoon as well as melting birdbath several times a day. PLEASE APPEAL TO VIEWERS TO BE AWARE OF BIRDS WANTING TO GAIN ENERGY FOR LONG NIGHT AHEAD AND THEN REPLENISHING IN THE EARLY MORNING! I do know lots of people are having problems with pigeons and starlings clearing food but I find they don't like early morning or late afternoon so other birds get their share too. No sign of sparrowhawk or bats at moment or the usual flypast of parakeets or crows but several gulls instead. Sorry it was so long but hope it helps!

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  • 141. At 08:07am on 10 Jan 2010, veronica wrote:

    hello i live in pembroke in pembrokeshire and yeaterday while my brother and i were watching the kids play in the snow we looked up and there was a puffin flying across the top of the house . i have never seen a puffin this close in land i tought they left for the winter. i think that it was flying away from the cold but where would it go from here .

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  • 142. At 09:09am on 10 Jan 2010, Nightbird59 wrote:

    Hi, i`ve recently spotted a bird in my garden which i`ve never seen before. I`ve looked it on the RSPB website and it`s either a Curlew od a Whimbrel. Either one I may fear would find it hard to feed with the ground so frozen. How can I help??

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  • 143. At 09:52am on 10 Jan 2010, Karen R Parkes wrote:

    This morning we were greeted with the beautiful sight of four Redwings feeding in our garden. Very surprised to see them as we live in Par, Cornwall and did not think that they came this far South? We ve also got a regular pair of Tawny Owls who we can hear hooting/screeching during the night. I think that they are in the small copse at the rear of our house. I am surprised that they have not tried to prey upon our resident family of squirrels!

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  • 144. At 10:08am on 10 Jan 2010, Sam Dinista wrote:

    Couple of notes from the back garden.
    Three goldfinches this morning.One landed on the nyjer feeder and wouldn't let the other two near.They went to one of the other feeders but didn't look happy making do with sunflower seeds etc. It struck me as strange because I always thought goldfinches as being sociable birds and also there are teasels less than two foot from the feeders.
    Our two regular squirrels have not been seen since the snow arrived. Do they just stay in their nests until it all goes?

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  • 145. At 10:19am on 10 Jan 2010, littlejojo61 wrote:

    Is our garden being visited by the only feathered food snobs in the country?
    Living in a small Cotswold village we are running low on supplies for the birds so I lovingly prepared a mixture of the fat from a gammon joint mixed with seed,dried meal worms, etc and pushed this treat into a coconut shell and it has been treated with total disdain whilst they queue up to take turns on the remaining shop purchased fat balls! Also turn their little beaks up at the chopped up apple recommended by MHG. What am I doing wrong!

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  • 146. At 11:12am on 10 Jan 2010, mike jarwood wrote:

    At 10:00hrs on the 10 Jan 2010 we had a visit from a red wing it came right up to our patio door and a couple of his mates was in a tree at the bottom of the garden looking on.I think with all this snow in plymouth they were confused.

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  • 147. At 11:16am on 10 Jan 2010, Laurie Brown wrote:

    Excellent news about the program. Well done to all concerned.

    I feed the birds and squirrels every day in my garden but I have been putting ut extra over the last few weeks while the weather has been bad.

    We had 6 black birds visit (yes 6 all seen at the same time) and it was fantastic. They are now regular visitors and we have juvililes and adults. Apart from that we have had the regular sparrows, startling, collared doves (up to 16 at a time), pigeons, blue tit (but not as often as I would like), dunnock, robins and up to 5 squirrels. It gives me a lovely warm feeling to know that the bit that I do really helps.

    To the whole team keep up the great work.

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  • 148. At 11:24am on 10 Jan 2010, Julia Fowler wrote:

    All of our usual birds are very busy feeding. On Friday we saw a Blackcap feeding on our fat ring - a bird we have never seen before and has been here all weekend. 2 pairs of Mandarin ducks were swimming up our stream yesterday afternoon.They usually arrive each February but are very early this year and whilst watching the ducks there was a flash of blue and a kingfisher flew onto a branch over the straem and stayed there for a couple of minutes and then flew off - amazing!

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  • 149. At 11:24am on 10 Jan 2010, cleymarsh wrote:

    Flock of redwings seen feeding in Orpington, Kent during the last two weeks in a suburban garden. Flock of ten plus.

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  • 150. At 11:26am on 10 Jan 2010, LateNightSkies wrote:

    We've aquired another Blackcap.. another female. She is guarding the peanuts we moved away from the original! We now have 2 female blackcaps both guarding peanut feeders, about 25 metres away from each other round the corner of the house. The other birds don't stand a chance now, we don't have any more feeders to move about... they will have to risk the bird table for now.

    Is it not strange to have 2 female Blackcaps and not to have seen a male, with others reporting largely only female Blackcaps guarding feeders?

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  • 151. At 11:44am on 10 Jan 2010, Maaike and Tom wrote:

    Garden-wise, we've been seeing a lot of what other suburban birders here seem to be reporting. We're in South Glouc, just north of Bristol and regularly see: two blackcap females, one blackcap male, robins, one solitary wren, sparrows (yay! although looking a bit skinny now), starlings (with ensuing comedic battles), blackbirds, collared doves, wood pigeons, blue tits (although they're being bossed around quite a bit) goldfinches (only just starting to feed on mixed seed but continue to prefer the nijer), dunnock and in the last couple of days we've had the local redwings in our bushes as well. Haven't seen any longtailed tits or great tits for a while which seems odd! No green finches but not expecting them due to Trichomoniasis outbreak seeming to be worse around here. And, as I was typing this our first ever song thrush just made its appearance. And then a skylark out of the fields and into the tree behind the garage.

    There are tonnes of redwing around everywhere, much more than we've ever seen before but they've only just started to frequent our garden. No fieldfares...yet! No, I lie, again just as I'm typing this one's just shown up in the neighbour's tree!

    FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO ATTRACT BLACKCAP: It's expensive but they're adoring our Rocha pears that we've put out! It started out as leftover fruit from the holidays which had gone soft but we've been guilt tripped into buying more by the little female blackcap who will sit on the bird table for stretches of 15-20 mins just gorging on pears!

    Went out for a walk in the fields on Wednesday just after the heavy snow brought the city to a standstill and saw quite a few skylarks feeding on the ground, mostly around where horses & cattle had cleared the snow away.

    At Slimbridge yesterday it was definitely a different site to normal. Not many patches of open water left, so all the fowl who prefer to stay in the water are quite densely packed together. The wild bird feed at 16:00 yesterday showed a definite change in behaviour and quite a lot of impressive fights between Bewick swans. We noticed that on the feeders (especially in the Kingfisher hide for anyone who wants a look!) the robins seem to be putting aside their need to protect their territories. At one point there were six robins in close proximity to each other! I guess at this point there's no point defending territory if you're not alive to posess it!

    My requests for Snow Watch:
    1. A guide to tracks in the snow, please! I'm making lots of guesses and would love some more guidance!
    2. A good healthy portion of advice on the best foods to be putting out and maybe different ways/places to put the food down. We've definitely found anything with fat in it to be the preferred food but the goldfinches are still loving the oil-rich nijer and the robin mix (presumably because of the mealworms and berry bits) is proving popular, too!

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  • 152. At 11:51am on 10 Jan 2010, sylvie wrote:

    My first ever Redwing visited our tiny garden in East Devon for a meal this morning. Reading the comments I realise that these pretty birds are visiting in large numbers so I hope I will see more. Why do blackbirds and sparrows expend so much energy on squabbling, when they should be conserving it to survive?

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  • 153. At 11:55am on 10 Jan 2010, maggielizzie3 wrote:

    Here just down on the Worcestershire side of the Herefordshire Beacon in the Malvern Hills, we have about 15cm of snow. One bonus is the influx of Redwing and Fieldfare to our garden to eat any remaining berries. We also have two male Blackcaps fighting over territory (and food!). One of the Blackcaps is being particularly aggressive towards all other birds and guards the seed/fat/nuts even when not feeding himself. Is this normal behaviour or just a result of the adverse weather conditions? We also have two female Bullfinches. Incidentally, Bullfinches love the berries/seeds of Leycesteria formosa (or Himalayan Honeysuckle). The Goldfinches and Redpoll love the niger seed and the Long-tailed Tits love the fat columns. Ground-seed, apples and sultanas are giving the ground feeding birds a reasonable source of food. Usually we hear Tawny Owls regularly but during this cold spell we haven't heard them at all.

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  • 154. At 12:02pm on 10 Jan 2010, Debbs wrote:

    Note to "littlejojo" - the birds are being quite sensible as the RSPB actually recommends that you DON'T PUT OUT FAT USED FROM COOKING MEAT as it will be contaminated with meat juices and maybe salt and can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Why not put it down for the foxes so it doesn't go to waste? Sorry to be a killjoy have a look at the RSPB site for other suggestions and hopefully that will help.

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  • 155. At 12:10pm on 10 Jan 2010, Debbs wrote:

    Our Redwings are actually eating the snow on the tree branches - caught it on film, obviously don't know what our birdbaths are! Trying cat food today as worm replacement - nice!

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  • 156. At 12:11pm on 10 Jan 2010, Anne wrote:

    We have Redwings in our garden in Tonbridge,kent! At least 15 have been flying to and from our tree for the last few days. Its a large apple tree with a good lookout high on a hill. They seem very happy. had put seeds/bread out for birds. Until today they hadnt touched it but today one Redwing pecked at the multigrain bread!! They are stunning.

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  • 157. At 12:19pm on 10 Jan 2010, littlejojo61 wrote:

    Thanks Debbs - Post 154.
    Feel awful now, had no idea I was doing anything wrong. Obviously new to this but will rectify mistake accordingly. Won't damage the foxes will I?
    Thanks again. JO.

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  • 158. At 12:19pm on 10 Jan 2010, caroline strong wrote:

    I live in a terraced house near to the pennines with only a small enclosed garden. I have spotted a redwing visiting for 2 days now. I have never known this bird to be a visitor to my garden before!

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  • 159. At 12:19pm on 10 Jan 2010, karen wrote:

    Hi this is a message from Karen and Kevin, we have been keeping a close eye on our garden birds and are really excited to tell you that two pairs of long tailed tits have become regular visitors to our feeders, having not seen these delightful little birds before we wondered if they are regular visitors to other peoples gardens and if they are becoming more abundant to certain areas of Britain.

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  • 160. At 12:22pm on 10 Jan 2010, liz wrote:

    Good morning!

    This morning we have had eight pheasants gobbling up our "little" garden birds food, next a jay popped into say hello, the buzzards are circling, whilst our newly arrived red wings are try their claws a fat balls! The woodpeckers have cracked it now! The robins are now as profient as the all the variey of tits we have. We are considering calling in the united nations as the black birds are continually fighting - Some much for peaceful, tranquil rural south wales!! Locally there are no fat balls left have you a recipe please.

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  • 161. At 12:23pm on 10 Jan 2010, Robin Smith wrote:

    The snow is really bringing the birds out to try and find food. Saw loads on a short drive this morning including a Snipe sitting by the side of a fairly busy road, first time i have seen one by a road. I also cleared the snow around the base of my feeder and put some cut up apples, sunflower hearts and some broken up fat balls to help the ground feeders, snow is definately starting to melt but forecast is for more snow we shall see, i am down on south east kent

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  • 162. At 12:30pm on 10 Jan 2010, dvdwheeler2 wrote:

    We have been furiously feeding birds (6 times a day) here in West Cornwall, lots of cheese and suet and fruit, and have a large fan club which includes at least 11 blackbirds. We have noticed that 6 or 7 of them look different to "our" blackbirds. They are fairly uniformly dark grey, including beaks and legs. They are also more aggressive than "ours" and hog the feeding stations. The song thrush is beginning to square up to them and the pied wagtails have no problem but "our " blackbirds are suffering. Have they come from the Continent?

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  • 163. At 12:51pm on 10 Jan 2010, Janet Silvester wrote:

    I am glad to see that another "watch" programme is due to start.

    Our bird table was recently visited by a grey wagtail. Looking at my bird book these usually live in Scotland. Very beautiful bird, it kept coming to the bird table every day for 2 weeks, then we were very distressed to see that a neighbour's cat had jumped onto the table and took it away, I presume it is dead now, very upset. Does anyone know of a way to stop cats jumping onto bird tables? I have 2 cats of my own but because of the birds they are kept as house cats. We seem to be surrounded by cats that can get onto the table, there must be a way to stop them. The table is placed by our kitchen window but we have a narrow garden so the cats hide under the trees. I would be grateful to hear from you with any comments.

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  • 164. At 12:52pm on 10 Jan 2010, Chris Logan wrote:

    On two occasions, we have observed a green woodpecker digging in the snow behind a tree stump in our garden. As it is behind the stump, we can't see exactly what it is doing, but we do see snow being thrown up. We assume it is digging for insects, but can anyone confirm this please?

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  • 165. At 1:09pm on 10 Jan 2010, Gill Jarman wrote:

    Three summers ago a pair of wrens nested in a wall manger basket on the side of our house. The entrance to the nest was a small hole one-third of the way up the basket. We have a very woodland-like garden on a farm, so the site is very private, sheltered and fairly safe. The chicks hatched and we were fascinated to watch the family through our window - all of three feet from the nest. Unfortunately our cat ate one of the parents - presumably the male - but the single parent battled on rearing the babies. About a week later another adult came on the scene (presumably male) and helped rear the chicks which finally fledged successfully. The last two seasons have seen the nest used again - presumably by the same pair - and have produced 5 or 6 young on each occasion.

    Now to the extraordinary bit. A few evenings ago just before dusk, I happened to notice a wren near the nest. Knowing that when a family of wrens fledge they return to their nest at night for quite a while, I presumed it was probably the female finding somewhere warm to spend the night. Then I saw another not far away, and another.... So yesteday (Jan 10th) we fixed up the video camera to film any activity through the window. What we watched playing back amazed us. A total of 18 wrens popped into the nest! What we couldn't believe was that we had that many wrens or how they could all get in the nest! Do you think they are all the same family from previous years(although I wouldn't have thought that that many would have survived that long) or are they from different families co-habiting due to the very cold weather?

    The quality of our video is rather poor but I will try to upload it, but we have checked it three times now and there are definitly 18 wrens going to bed!

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  • 166. At 1:16pm on 10 Jan 2010, chinnymad70 wrote:

    We live in Consett in County Durham, and have a couple of bird feeding stations in our garden, which at it's worst so far has been over a foot deep in snow. We very often get 2 male blackbirds in the garden anyway which we find unusual as we thought they are very territorial birds, but even stranger still is that they have both been using the feeding station and not just foraging on the ground. We have been putting out fat cakes, meal worms, raisins and sultanas, peanuts and seed mixes (trying to accommodate all the feathery critters!) Is this behaviour because of the weather?

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  • 167. At 1:19pm on 10 Jan 2010, janeba wrote:

    Hi, We live in gainsborough, lincolnshire and yesterday my husband and I spotted a flock of I think were Fieldfare, they are similar to Thrushes but with a splash of red underneath their wings. They were eating red berries of a shrub. Can anyone else confirm our sighting?

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  • 168. At 1:30pm on 10 Jan 2010, olliebonkers wrote:

    I live in SE London and yesterday I saw 5 redwings in my back garden eating rosehips. I have never seen one of these beautiful birds before and it made my day. Today I saw a song thrush eating an apple I had put out for the birds and all the feeders are covered in goldfinches, green finches, chaffinches, starlings, blue tits, great tits and even the resident robin feeds from the sunflower seed feeder. They are keeping me busy providing food and trying to keep the birdbath clear of ice!

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  • 169. At 1:35pm on 10 Jan 2010, Maaike and Tom wrote:

    Sounds like Redwing Janeba...Fieldfares are fairly similar but much greyer and with no red splashes. Still a nice spot though! RSPB Redwing Link

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  • 170. At 1:44pm on 10 Jan 2010, janeba wrote:

    Thanks Maaike and Tom, After looking up the birds, realised that they were Redwings,are they rare in Lincolnshire?.

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  • 171. At 1:54pm on 10 Jan 2010, Les Bullock wrote:

    Last friday night on the 8th of january i slept in my conservatory and the following morning at 9 o clock i was wakened by a bang on my window, i looked up and on the inside window sill of my conservatory- u will not believe this, sat there looking at me was a woodcock! My adult she cat had grabbed this bird from somewhere and had brought it through the cat flap, through the lounge, in to the conservatory to show me. She was sat on my record player guarding the bird. I quietly got up grabbed the cat and put it in the living room and shut the door. I went back to the bird on the window sill and with some reasurring words checked the bird was okay, and saw there wasnt a mark on it and it just sat there looking at me wondering "whats going on". With a length of beak on this bird i wasnt getting to close to it so i quietly open the conservatory door. I went back to the bird, he gave me one look and then looked at the open door and took off like a rocket, straight through the door and over the trees and away!A perfect release!
    Iv been bird watching for almost fifty years and ive never seen a woodcock in the wild let alone in my conservatory. I can only guess that because of the icy conditions this bird had come into suburbia foraging for some soft ground, and somehow my cat had grabbed it. While we're on the subject shes done this before, notably with a starling and a collared dove and on both occasions the bird was totally unharmed. She just likes to show me what shes caught, although if your a mouse your dinner! Why go bird watching when the cat brings it to you!
    yours faithfully les bullock from Barry, Wales.

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  • 172. At 2:14pm on 10 Jan 2010, howson wrote:

    never seen before this far south. 4 redwings north Manchester.
    They seem to love the red berries.
    Have they been seen further south?

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  • 173. At 2:15pm on 10 Jan 2010, Val wrote:

    My friend, who lives 50 yards down the road, has had 12 mandarin ducks visiting his garden. This is very unusual.

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  • 174. At 2:31pm on 10 Jan 2010, simon cathery wrote:

    My seven year old son spotted a group of 3 Redwings and 1 Fieldfare in our back garden in Wilmslow, Cheshire. They were in the garden for about 5 minutes on Sunday afternoon and started digging up leaves in an area protected from snow by a wall. He was pleased because it was next to the pile of wood we left this year for insects and behind the small pond we built together last summer.

    About half an hour later a single redwing came back and we managed to get a photo of it next to the hedge - a really good view only about 10 feet from the back window. I've put it on the snow watch photo site.

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  • 175. At 2:32pm on 10 Jan 2010, unarmadillo wrote:

    looking forward to your snow show.

    the fox's have been very active at my local gravel pits,thier prints are all over the ice. i thought they must be making the most of a new oppertunity to hunt i the reed beds after coots,moorhens ects ,but was quite surprised to find one had managed to catch a heron.

    yesterday at attenburough nr in nottingham saw a vixon walk strait accross middle of pit,so unconsearned that twothirds of way accross it stopped for a poo!

    thier are upto 7 bitterns here,was fortunate to see 3 of them!

    all the best for 13th

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  • 176. At 2:32pm on 10 Jan 2010, Val wrote:

    My friend who has the 12 mandarin ducks also had a snipe in his suburban garden! Never seen here before.

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  • 177. At 3:06pm on 10 Jan 2010, Donna D wrote:

    Here on the Norfolk/Suffolk border we have flocks of Fieldfares in the field next to our garden since the heavy snowfall. We don't usually see them around here - and certainly not in these numbers. They are stripping all the berries remaining on the trees - obviously they are in search of food.

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  • 178. At 3:17pm on 10 Jan 2010, JulianP wrote:

    Whilst down in West Dorset on holiday last week we were amazed by the continual waves of flocks of birds coming in from the sea or over land travelling west to east. We've never seen so many and the migration went on for several hours. Amongst the birds were large numbers of lapwing, redwing and fieldfares but we then saw several snipe and skylark on the ground the following day in the coastal fields that had not been covered with snow.
    Back in Leicester, we've had a red kite 'cruising' overhead for the first time that we've noticed (although we nearly always see them on the A34 south of Oxford en route to Dorset - and last week was no exception), and our pyracantha bushes in the neighbourhood are being stripped of their berries by the redwings and fieldfares - the first time we've seen them in this neighbourhood.

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  • 179. At 3:25pm on 10 Jan 2010, Richard Billett wrote:

    Hello everyone, I live in sunny ( laugh ) Bournemouth about 3 miles inland from the coast at Charminster.I am always feeding my garden birds, but this year because of the really cold weather I have had Redwings as constant visitors.They first appeared at Christmas time, being fleeting visitors & numbering about 6, but today there has been a minimum of about 30 & they seem to be moving around together. Some of them look different so I'm assuming that some are females & others are juveniles.It is very nice to have them here along with my normal crowd.My holly tree which must be about 100 years old & stands 30 feet tall has been stripped clean of any berries & now looks very drap, but the birds obviously loved them.
    My word its been a struggle to keep the bird bath free of ice. I have been out about 3/4 times in a day to de-ice them, but todat the temperature has lifted above freezing so perhaps the worst is over. Im ok, but the poor old wildlife has taken a battering, lets hope we don't loose too many.

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  • 180. At 3:43pm on 10 Jan 2010, Dianne wrote:

    Four new and unusual visitors to our garden this morning
    1 Starling, 2 Redwings and we think the other is a Fieldfare.
    We have never, in the 11 years we have lived here, seen these birds before.
    We regularly get visited by Blackbirds (10 at a time), Magpies, Mistle Thrushes, Song Thrushes, Jays, Grey and Common wagtails, Long Tailed Tits, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Robins (up to 5 at a time!), Nut hatches, Chaffinches, Collared Doves, Buzzards and the odd Sparrow Hawk.
    In the Summer also we get Green Finches, Gold Finches, Siskins (although visits from the last three species have dropped off over the last few years and are now rare - we don't know why), We have seen 1 Bullfinch in 11 years. We saw several Red Kites last Summer.

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  • 181. At 3:47pm on 10 Jan 2010, Pumpkinpeaches wrote:

    What a wonderful few days we have had watching the many Redwings and Fieldfares in our garden that have arrived with the snow, the first time we have seen them here in Totland Bay.We have put out sultanas and fruits,the redwings have sampled the sultanas !

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  • 182. At 3:50pm on 10 Jan 2010, Pat MacRae wrote:

    We have had a lesser spotted woodpecker feeding from the nuts on the bird feeder for the last 3 weeks or so. All the other birds seem very wary of him. We have also had a couple of Pheasants coming in and feeding off the seeds dropped by the other birds from the feeders. Its always nice to open the curtains in the morning and see the vast array of birds we have feeding.

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  • 183. At 3:56pm on 10 Jan 2010, Lyn Humphries wrote:

    I have a pair of resident blackbirds in my garden who are usually quite amiable to all the other birds in the garden, however since the snow they will not allow any other birds near any of the food I have put out fiercely fighting them off.

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  • 184. At 4:02pm on 10 Jan 2010, teagunn wrote:

    We've had a flurry of activity since the cold weather, your regulars – Blackbirds, lots of Goldfinches, Robins, Blue & Great Tits but the biggest surprise is our Grey Wagtail. He's been visiting for about 2 weeks – and he's always in the garden, must be around 10-15 times a day.

    We live in Greenwich so I guess he's come from the Thames somewhere. He's very nervous but seems to be enjoying the cheese and seeds I'm putting out.

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  • 185. At 4:14pm on 10 Jan 2010, Jane wrote:

    since the snow i have been out walking keeping an eye on the birds, i have been feeding them in the garden (as always). this last week i have noticed alot of different birds that i do not usually get in the garden, like Redwings and Black caps. iam pleased to say ive lots of birds still coming into my garden, ie long tailed tits, blue tits, coal tits, starlings, nuthatch, robins, blackbirds,green woodpecker, lesser spoted woodpecker, great tits, wrens,and many others, and of course with all these birds coming into, the garden we also have the sparrowhawk.

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  • 186. At 4:22pm on 10 Jan 2010, Sam Dinista wrote:

    Saw our first kestrel since the snows came. Within a moment of starting to hover, a crow started mobbing it. The crow followed it for quite a distance till the kestrel disapeared.
    Redwings everywhere near the centre of Brighton. Everywhere there were berries that is.
    Highlight of the day. A meadow pipet landed in our garden and had a good hop around, before preening and flying off. That's a first for our garden.

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  • 187. At 4:34pm on 10 Jan 2010, Karen R Parkes wrote:

    Update from mid Cornwall! Posted a blog earlier on this morning as we had viewed 4 redwings feeding in our garden. As the day has progressed we have counted more than 20 individuals in the copse at the rear of our house! We also decided to go down to King's Wood in the Pentewan Valley earlier on in the day which looked stunning-a real magical winter wonderland! Whilst there we were amazed to see huge numbers of Redwings absolutely everywhere! Not only were there hundreds of them in the woods, on the journey to and from my house we could not help but notice there has seemingly been a Redwing invasion in our area. The Redwings kept on swooping out in front of our camper as we drove along the roads! Sadly I noticed a couple of the birds had been struck by cars and were lying in the road. Whilst out and about we also saw a flock of 6 lapwings, a peregrine falcon, lots of Robins, Blackbirds, a Mistle Thrush and many Chaffinches. Finally I spotted a gorgeous little Wren (my all time favourite bird) in the Costa Coffee car-park!

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  • 188. At 4:40pm on 10 Jan 2010, Nicola King wrote:

    We have had an unusual visitor to our garden over the last couple of days. We were excited to learn that it was a Fieldfare and we understand that several have recently arrived in Jersey.

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  • 189. At 4:46pm on 10 Jan 2010, merlotti wrote:

    Was quite excited today to see a bird I've never seen in the garden before. There were several of them all foraging under the bushes and in the leaves, and they were Redwing. I think the snow pushed them over from the fields. Couldn't get a good enough picture, but will put up the one I do have tomorrow.

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  • 190. At 5:06pm on 10 Jan 2010, Lofty lady wrote:

    Well, considering it NEVER snows on the Isle of Wight (apparently) it is now the Isle of White! Having had hardly any garden birds prior to the cold snap despite feeding a variety of foodstuffs we are now honoured with a number of visitors. One of a flock of Fieldfares recently stripping a nearby tree of it's berries, has made our restaurant his home and is seeing off other birds as big as seagulls and even a rook.We had two Redwings trying to pop down to feed but they were very quickly evicted from the garden.
    We are now seeing a number of Blackbirds a ?Song Thrush (not Mistle according to book!) a few robins, sparrows and starlings but no tits or finches - although a blue tit did sit on the fence before flying away again. We have put out all sorts of food including seeds, nuts, bird cakes, dumplings and fruit. We were also lucky enough to recently have a Black Redstart visiting the birdbath but that was actually before the snow. We are still getting a couple of foxes visiting at night that we feed - including Arthur our little stumpy tailed vixen who I've put on the Flickr group.

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  • 191. At 5:25pm on 10 Jan 2010, julesyjules wrote:

    Every morning we have a black bird, robin and a brambling waiting for me to put some seeds out for them, they seem to appreciate it and I get a lovely feeling knowing that they enjoy along with the other birds that gather to feed as well.
    Fieldfare came back today when I placed another pear cut in half at the bottom of the trees. Trying to take a picture is proving to be difficult as they are very skittish.

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  • 192. At 6:12pm on 10 Jan 2010, Lorraine wrote:

    Hi Everyone
    I just wondered, aweek before christmas I notised that the plum tree in my garden and the apple tree at school started to blossom. Then the children came to me with ladybirds. Also I notised a huge Bee in the school grounds and then again a huge bee in my garden at home. Will the cold have now killed these?
    South ockendon, Essex.

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  • 193. At 6:23pm on 10 Jan 2010, Harris Hawk wrote:

    Speaking of the cold weather i havnt seen any Long tailed tits for a while maybe they have been affected

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  • 194. At 6:34pm on 10 Jan 2010, wildaboutmanx wrote:

    Since the snow last week, the rabbits have started feeding on left over hay in our fields, I have never seen them do that before. Also, the dog put up a lapwing out of the garden, makes a change from the dunnocks and chaffinches! It is still around in the fields and seems to be following the horses round. Hen harriers have moved down off the hills above and are hunting along the glen, a wonderful sight.
    We very rarely have snow or even frost here on the Isle of Man so I think the wildlife is having to change feeding habits and adapt very quickly.

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  • 195. At 6:55pm on 10 Jan 2010, Robin Smith wrote:

    to join the trong so to speak i have Redwings in my garden today and this is the first time i have seen these superb birds i did not realise how colourful they were. I managed to get a photo but i was quite far away but see it here http://www.flickr.com/photos/robster333/4263397528/in/pool-bbcsnowwatch Looking forward to the Snow Watch show.

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  • 196. At 6:56pm on 10 Jan 2010, Robin Smith wrote:

    "with correct spelling"
    to join the throng so to speak i had Redwings in my garden today and this is the first time i have seen these superb birds i did not realise how colourful they were. I managed to get a photo but i was quite far away but see it here http://www.flickr.com/photos/robster333/4263397528/in/pool-bbcsnowwatch Looking forward to the Snow Watch show.

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  • 197. At 7:06pm on 10 Jan 2010, Maaike and Tom wrote:

    Thomas Harris, I've not seen many long tails around in our garden, either, and miss their little calls! We did see a whole tree-full at Slimbridge yesterday, though. They seem to be able to get all the little buds and bits off the trees and don't seem to need the feeders at all...at the moment anyway!

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  • 198. At 7:14pm on 10 Jan 2010, Clairecoll wrote:

    Since 8.1.10 I have seen about 8-10 redwings in a tree near my garden. They have been here about 4 days with the heavy snow. this is in east sussex halsham. never seen before. Wondering if they have stopped here because of the snow? IS this unusual???
    ps i am a beginnner bird and wildlife watcher !!

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  • 199. At 7:17pm on 10 Jan 2010, Ed Drewitt wrote:

    Today while doing a recce for some wildlife tours on the Somerset Levels, myself and co-leader saw lots of weak blackbirds and redwings by the edges of many of the roads - some stronger ones foraging amongst the verge mulch. Some were just standing in the road and in different places at least 5 had been killed by cars. No doubt the melted road verges provide a relief from the snow and food but perhaps the salt from the road is causing some problems too, especially if the birds drink any melted snow that contains the salt.
    In Langport high street I was able to walk right up to a redwing which was pecking at the snow - perhaps to get moisture.It weakly flew away, Later, a tame blackbird was doing the same. On a more positive note, a flock of over 60 fieldfares were busily jostling for the berries in bushes in an industrail area of St Philips, Bristol near Temple Meads Station. Not a place you would normally see fieldfares. Earlier in the week saw many flocks of fieldfares over Henbury, Bristol and many skylarks which is unusual at this time of the year.

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  • 200. At 7:34pm on 10 Jan 2010, SUNNYLITTLEBEAR wrote:

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  • 201. At 7:39pm on 10 Jan 2010, SUNNYLITTLEBEAR wrote:

    I see Nuthatch everyday in the woods I walk in, I follow their year & get great pleasure from seeing the chicks fledge ( if I am lucky) but yesterday for the first time in the 25 years I have been using the wood I saw 6 of them together! we put food out for them in the winter & its great for watching all the birds but yesterday it was like a motorway for nuthatch! it was brill!!!!!!

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  • 202. At 8:36pm on 10 Jan 2010, justjudi wrote:

    Two mistle thrushes have recently started aggressively guarding the ground feeder in the garden. Whilst these are an unusual and welcome sight for me I am worried that the blackbirds won’t get a look in. What can I do to protect the blackbirds, to make sure they get some food and don’t abandon my garden?

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  • 203. At 8:49pm on 10 Jan 2010, David Smithson wrote:

    Hi really chuffed about snowwatch it will be too late to help with my question, tonight when I arrived home I found a butterfly in the snow at first I thought it was dead but it suddenly moved so it is now in the house warmed up it is flexing its wings and walking about I have no idea what will happen i don't know if there is anything I should do with it I assume it was hibernating and somehow it got knocked off where it was attached,

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  • 204. At 9:09pm on 10 Jan 2010, keletkezes wrote:

    Heard a Fieldfare down by Castle Marina in Nottingham the other day: never heard one there before. Also saw a horde of Canada geese that weren't part of the two usual gaggle-ettes (3 geese in each) that had come up to the bit of grass in the middle: I presume they're usually down the other side of the Marina but since it was covered in about an inch of snow on top of the ice, I guess they'd moved to the 'warmer' bit! The Cormorants from the University Park lake were also flying over the canal by the railway crossing, presumably because it was iced over there too.

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  • 205. At 9:13pm on 10 Jan 2010, dean_area51 wrote:

    After the first heavy snow fall we had a flock of 27 redwings in our willow tree. That night someone had a fireworks party. The next morning there were only 2 redwings in the willow. From that point I only saw groups of 2-3 redwings flying about together. My Question is. Do redwing flocks break up once they have settled into an area or was I seeing seperate twos and threes that had flown over by themselves and were not from the original flock of 27?

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  • 206. At 9:42pm on 10 Jan 2010, Parax wrote:

    @204 keletkezes
    yes I had a flock of 20+ Fieldfare and Redwing in my Nottingham garden today.(Photos: Bird on a wire - Flock on Berry Raid)
    Whilst you are around the Marina keep your eyes open for the sparrow hawk! I've seen it take small birds from McD's car park -mcsparrows maybe? but its certainly FAST food! flash of pink and its gone.

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  • 207. At 10:57pm on 10 Jan 2010, julesyjules wrote:

    Have seen quite alot of long tails down here in Newton Abbot, especilly at Forches Cross and Stover Country Park,I love their chat and the way they move around in gangs.

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  • 208. At 11:23pm on 10 Jan 2010, sue brewer wrote:

    On a snowy afternoon a few days after Christmas, I heard a persistant tapping at the window. Then I noticed a magpie who was trying to cling on to the top of the window frame as he pecked at the glass. I believe he had seen the glittery tinsel and baubles on the Christmas tree, and was trying to 'thieve' them! On the other hand, he could have been after a mince pie!

    Sue (SkylarkSue)

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  • 209. At 07:12am on 11 Jan 2010, Copper_Beech wrote:

    Lots of fieldfares feasting on apples in the garden. The male (I think) attempts to chase away all the other blackbirds, and in doing so, hardly gets any food himself, whilst the female sits their placidly sharing and gets about twice as much food as him! They are very impressive birds though, with that fierce yellow eye and long tail.

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  • 210. At 08:57am on 11 Jan 2010, Hoglet wrote:

    A little feeding tip: raisins are great for energy for birds, but don't put them out in the summer - they attract an awful lot of wasps! (Oops)

    Also I put food out in a variety of places across the garden. I find this helps to stop the territorial guarding behaviour described by others on this forum. I'm sure Chris the Geek could tell us lots about the science of feeding strategies, but simply lots of feeding opportunities makes it easier for different species to select the option that works best for them.

    Keep up the good work everybody,
    Kat Parkes,

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  • 211. At 09:47am on 11 Jan 2010, Alikan wrote:

    What a feast of bird life this weather has brought to Cornwall!
    Yesterday I had 25 Field Fares fighting over apples on my back lawn!
    I also had redwings, thrushes, blackbirds, a robin, sparrows, chaffinches, a wren, blue tits, great tits, jackdaws, magpies, blackcaps (male and female, fortunately!) and starlings.
    I have never had so many different species searching for food at the same time - I just hope my supplies kept some of them alive over the freezing night we had.

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  • 212. At 10:50am on 11 Jan 2010, Tim wrote:

    First of all it was a Redwing visiting the garden on Wednesday to take the berries from the pyracantha.
    Since then there seems to be a flock of Redwings and Fiedfares and the odd thrush that seems to have taken up residence in the surrounding area. Of the flock there has been one Fieldfare that has took a particular liking to the garden enjoying feeding on the apples that have been put out, chasing off any other Fieldfares, Redwings etc that might try to get any of the feed, particularly now that the pyracantha is nearly stripped.
    Is this normal practice - your comments would be appreciated.
    Thanks in advance.
    This is happening in the area of Whetstone, Leicester

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  • 213. At 11:08am on 11 Jan 2010, Robin Smith wrote:

    For the second time in 2 days i saw a Snipe sitting in the road?? Do they think the road is a clear piece or ground as everything else is white? it was pressing its bill against the tarmac very perculiar any one any ideas??

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  • 214. At 11:26am on 11 Jan 2010, maria wrote:

    just to let you know that we have a group of fieldfares this year due to the weather, amazing site. Also this year we have a group of long tailed tits and a single goldcrest all feeding on our hawthorn tree outside our house.

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  • 215. At 11:37am on 11 Jan 2010, Bumper30 wrote:

    We have been feeding the birds with our own lard/seed mix, peanuts and nyjer seed. We have had Robins, Great tits, Blue tits, Chaffinches, Starlings, Black birds, Long tailed tits and even a great spotted woodpecker landed on the peanut feeder. Also there are magpies and Jays in the area. We have seen a fox and the deer, which pass through the bit of wooded area in to the park. We are in the London/Essex border.

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  • 216. At 11:47am on 11 Jan 2010, Paula Hands wrote:

    After seeing a bird in our garden for the third time which we dont usually get, I got my bird book out, at first I thought it might be a song thrush being of similar markings to it's breast and it size and shape. This bird, however, had a striking ornangey/red edge to it's wing and beautiful markings around the eye...looking it up in my book and checking on here, I have found it to be a Redwing!! Is this rare, so late in the season and so inland? We are in Leicestershire and have a small town garden which attracts gold finches, green finches, blue tits, coal tits, chaffinches etc... It really is a treat to see a newcomer, even if he has only been seen by me three times and stays for a pause on my twisted will for a few minutes and is then gone, he never eats from the feeders which are stocked with sunflower kernels, nyger seeds and a fat cake with insects.

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  • 217. At 11:56am on 11 Jan 2010, Mick Mahoney wrote:

    Despite the snow we have had a flock of 30 plus Fieldfares over the past couple of days in our garden in Worthing - not seen before in this garden over the last 9 years are they becomming more common ?

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  • 218. At 12:07pm on 11 Jan 2010, basilthebuzzard wrote:

    Great news about Snow Watch!!We live in rural West Somerset,and have always fed the birds.During the autumn we had a young buzzard in the garden who had recently been kicked out from his parents care. He was scrambling about in the small stream and in the heather garden at the far end of the property,searching for anything edible.After a day or two of careful and cautious approach, I got to within 2-3 feet offering him peices of steak that I had bought for my husbands tea!( he had to put up with egg and chips instead).The buzzard stayed for about a week or so and then went to fend for itself.

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  • 219. At 12:11pm on 11 Jan 2010, Andy Russell wrote:

    I live in West Devon and whilst watching the birds around my bird feeders, I counted 7 robins all vying for scraps. Most of the time was spent by (presumably) our resident robin trying to chase off the outsiders. At dusk and just after I have seen as many as four alternating for their turn on the basin of fat I put out. I also saw a Curlew in the back garden the other day and later in the snow covered field behind, presumably trying to find food - what could I put out to help it survive.
    Can't wait for the show
    Andy Russell

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  • 220. At 12:15pm on 11 Jan 2010, Clare Gamble wrote:

    During this snowy weather I have had a Fieldfare come to my garden. I have never seen one before - is it rare in Gloucestershire? I believe they do winter in England, but this far west? This particular Fieldfare is very bossy in the garden - I put apples out for it as it wouldn't eat any of the other food out for the birds, and since then it has hogged all the apples and will chase off any blackbird that comes near.

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  • 221. At 12:20pm on 11 Jan 2010, basilthebuzzard wrote:

    Since the onset of the snowy weather we have been puting out extra food for the ground feeders as well as the others.To date we have seen:blue and great tits,long tailed tits,coal tichaffinches,dunnocks,
    magpies and up to 15 blackbirds,male and females,2 mistle thrushes and 2 field fare,and unusually 5 robins.We live in a fairly isolated spot so I guess any food source is a bonus to these birds in this weather. we also had a roe deer visit but am not sure what,if any food I should put out?

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  • 222. At 12:21pm on 11 Jan 2010, Jane Davies wrote:

    Last Tuesday whilst whilst my husband had the garage door open while he was clearing snow from our drive etc. a hedgehog came took a fancy to our garage. He/she has since taken to a cardboard box full of christmas wrapping paper as a bed. The first couple of nights he was out and about in the garage but over the weekend has not come out. We have supplied water and cat food but is not eating them. He is still breathing and I am hoping that he had now gone into hibernation. Can anyone tell me whether he will come out when the temperatures improve in a week or two or whether he is likely to stay hibernating until the spring. Is there anything else we should be doing?

    Also blue tits taking a great interest in a new bird box we have but up, great hopes for them nesting shortly.

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  • 223. At 1:10pm on 11 Jan 2010, Dinah Ellis wrote:

    Here in Weymouth, Dorset, we rarely get snow, but it has been freezing cold - literally. For the first time in years we have had flocks of fieldfares and redwings, and all the bushes and trees have been stripped of berries. When in a group, these birds were quite passive, but we now have a lone fieldfare who is very aggressive - it appeared when I put out chopped apple. Most of the time it has chased off all our usual birds (sparrows, blackbirds, dunnock, robins, starlings,chaffinches, tits etc.) as well as the "snow visitors" like reed buntings, thrush & blackcaps. Where is our resident sparrowhawk when I need her!? I assume the fieldfare is extra stressed because it is alone - or maybe it's alone because it's so nasty!
    We have been putting out seed, peanuts and our own mix of lard, oats, flour, dried fruit, seed and nuts, as well as the chopped apple. No seed left in local shops now, so I resorted to a bag of rabbit mix - Seems to be going down okay! All the food is well spread out as well as in sheltered places, to try to reduce all that rivalry.
    As for water, I have put one large plastic plant saucer on top of an upturned sweet tin, with a small candle in a holder beneath it. I punched 3 lines of holes in the tin first, and had to experiment a bit to make sure enough oxygen was getting in to keep the candle alight. It does work though.(The tin is completely covered by the saucer, so no chance of a bird landing on warm metal) Another ceramic birdbath is on the lid of the sweet tin, propped on bricks over another candle holder, and that has kept ice-free too. Certainly beats sneaking out every couple of hours to scoop ice out of water - and, despite my fears, I haven't poached a bird yet!
    Last time I noticed the long-tailed tits that regularly flit through was on Wednesday 6th, when it actually was snowing here and all the birds were in a feeding frenzy: they were right at the kitchen window sill, giving a stray buddleia branch a close examination.
    Like others, I have noticed far fewer birds feeding on the nuts, fat balls and seed feeders that always hang in the garden.

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  • 224. At 1:19pm on 11 Jan 2010, Simon wrote:

    Hi i'm in Bideford in North Devon. I think I have 2 Fieldfare using my garden. Not seen them before. Are they regular visitors or quite a rare sighting?

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  • 225. At 1:40pm on 11 Jan 2010, Ali2310 wrote:

    Here in Elstead, Surrey we've had the full brunt of the weather. At least 20 inches fell last week, and with more heavy snow forecasted for tomorrow evening, it looks as if the snow is here to stay; Well at least for another week or so.

    We're lucky to be living in quite a lot of acreage and so are surrounded by woodland and heath/marshland. The usual critters have been out and about including our resident deer and foxes.

    The best sight I've seen thus far during this winter freeze is a small rabbit sat on old brick wall, one of the only places that had shelter from the snow. I sat inside looking out from my bedroom waiting to see what he/she would do.
    Eventually she plunged into the snow and then jumped right back out. Made me chuckle quite a bit. Don't think she liked the cold on her feet one little bit.

    Looking forward to this special and seeing everyones' wonderful pictures of the "Big Freeze".


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  • 226. At 1:59pm on 11 Jan 2010, 122abcdefghi wrote:

    AS work downloads to print out...Many programmes work with strobing flickering effects.Have wondered if T.V. and computer monitor screen flicker is a cause of birds flying at window.Any thoughts?

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  • 227. At 2:13pm on 11 Jan 2010, Gillie Davies wrote:

    we have had a Fieldfare visiting the garden so have been making sure we have plenty of apples for her. She is quite a feisty piece! she chases off the blackbirds and other thrushes, but has decided that the wood pigeon and jackdaws are rather on the large side so tollerates them.....just!

    Soooo looking forward to this special program which is just in time as I leave for NZ on first of Feb to complete my circumnavigation, so will be once again watching humpbacks, dolphins and boobies!

    Fantastic programme gals and guys.
    Gillie Davies

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  • 228. At 2:46pm on 11 Jan 2010, juliaandwiggy wrote:

    Has anyone else noticed how clearly you can make out the different colours of the stars since it snowed? Even in the town, with all the light pollution, it seems easier to differentiate between the red and blue ones.

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  • 229. At 3:06pm on 11 Jan 2010, martin wrote:

    over the last 2 to 3 days today being the 11th january we have had in our area of Long Eaton Nottingham had a flock of about 25 to 30 redwings. We have never seen them in this area before and believe they are not as common as they used to be. from what we found out it looks like they are here because of the bad weather conditions and the fact that apparently we have had the least snow in this area. we have put some fruit and scones out to hopefully feed them, they are beautiful. all the other birds we feed think they have won the lottery ah ah

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  • 230. At 3:40pm on 11 Jan 2010, sue55red wrote:

    since the 7th of jan but small garden which normally only sees starlings and house sparrows at the moment i'm getting redwings, robin, blue tit, blackbirds, song thrush and just now a chiffchaff plus a fieldfare which is causing a bit of bother my question is
    on autumnwatch Kate Humble said how important it was that birds didn't fly all the way to get food for there to be none, well my garden has food for them but it also has a very stroppy fieldfare which wont let any other ground feeding bird in chasing them off it stays in my garden for hours many just standing guard of the food so the thing is after its had a good feed and has been there for a hour do i move it on or just leave the birds to sort it out for themselves ?

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  • 231. At 3:46pm on 11 Jan 2010, sue55red wrote:

    i forgot to write i live in weymouth dorset close to RSPB radipole reserve. and that i also had grey wagtail and pied wagtails.

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  • 232. At 4:27pm on 11 Jan 2010, Jane Lindley wrote:

    Here in Huddersfield I have seen two unusual birds visiting my garden. The RSPB Handbook has helped me to identified them.
    Grey Wagtail - ground feeding and not at all nervous.
    Woodcock - amazing sight! Looking quite lost, just standing squatly, however it flew off when I moved.
    I think these are quite unusual birds to find in the garden and assume the long term snow & sub zero temperatures have played their part.

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  • 233. At 5:25pm on 11 Jan 2010, LateNightSkies wrote:

    Very excited, saw a fox last night at 12:30. It was rooting around in the snow and around the bird table, presumably looking for and finding a small amount of food. He or she was there for at least 5 minutes as I watched from behind the blinds in the bedroom window. This may not be unusual for my garden, we often hear them in spring and summer but I have never happened to see one out on the lawn before.

    It was lovely to watch but I am worried that they are struggling to find food, should I feed them? Whats best to feed them? I have peanuts and some wet dog food at the moment.. I think thats OK but whats best nutritionally?

    Theres a moral dilemma here too because I would feel bad feeding the foxes and giving them an advantage against their prey... but on the other hand I would hate to see them suffering due to a lack of food.

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  • 234. At 5:46pm on 11 Jan 2010, rohanf wrote:

    can anyone help?
    i live in north wales and on saturday in an isolated part came across a hugh bird of prey which flew right accross our path as we were driving. it was so big we came to a skidding halt. i'm used to seeing red kites and buzzards and sparrow hawks and it wansn't any of them. we only got a quick glance. it was mainly brown but when it passed i saw some white underneath it and it had broadly fingered wing tips. that's all ive got to go on. any clues?

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  • 235. At 5:52pm on 11 Jan 2010, Oliver wrote:

    Since the snow came we've been getting loads more birds at our feeders. We've been getting lots of bullfinches, long-tailed-tits and even a woodpecker, but it was really special when I spotted a sparrowhawk in the tree!

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  • 236. At 5:53pm on 11 Jan 2010, Matt wrote:

    Yesterday afternoon in my garden in Gloucestershire there was a polar bear rooting around in my bins, I know it's not un-heard of, but it seemed an unusual sight to me.

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  • 237. At 6:33pm on 11 Jan 2010, Fiona Teddy wrote:

    I too saw a grey wagtail a couple of days ago looking for food on the thawed moss on the roof of my house. I have never seen one do that before, but frequent pied wagtails. Lovely to see rare visit by a Mistle thrush to the bird seed. No wrens at all but saw them in the frosty weather before the snow, looking for food on the path. Will the very cold weather here (-10C) have been too much for them?

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  • 238. At 7:18pm on 11 Jan 2010, bluejay wrote:

    We think we saw a Lapland Bunting in North Devon! But do birds that change their plumage in winter sometimes not change? Yesterday a bird visited our snowy garden that was exactly like a male Lapland Bunting - but it was in summer plumage, with a jet black head and throat finishing in a distinct v-shape on the throat. We thought perhaps a Reed Bunting, but these don't have black heads in winter either, and the black definitely came right down in a v-shape on the throat. It had very pale whitish-grey underparts and stripy dunnock-like wings. Any ideas?

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  • 239. At 7:29pm on 11 Jan 2010, chinnymad70 wrote:

    Another update from Consett, Co Durham! We were out walking along the River Derwent yesterday and spotted an unusual duck, which after a bit of research, we are pretty sure was a female Goosander. The couple of bird books we have aren't very specific as to where these ducks are found, so we were wondering if they were commonly found in this area?

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  • 240. At 7:30pm on 11 Jan 2010, jean wrote:

    Can anyone tell you why I should find a toad sitting in the snow outside my back door - after an hour of it not moving and not sure whether it was dead or alive at -4 degrees I went out picked it up, still no movement and put it at the edge of the log pile, after a prod with my finger it went into the log pile (alive!). Next time I looked out of the window it was back sitting in the snow?

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  • 241. At 7:30pm on 11 Jan 2010, birdfeedergirl wrote:

    I have noticed a definite increase in the amount of birds visiting my garden over the past couple of weeks, particularly since last week's snowfall. I have put up two extra bird feeders to help them out during this cold snap. My mum has had two never seen before species in her garden which are a pair of Redwings and also Mistle Thrushes. The Mistle Thrushes keep getting "seen off" by some rather feisty Blackbirds too which is quite amusing to watch. Looking forward to Snow Watch too!!

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  • 242. At 8:02pm on 11 Jan 2010, ANNE D wrote:

    Sunday 10th January at around 9.15am we had for the first time ever a flock of fieldfares in our garden, feeding on berries.There were as many as 25 birds in the tree nearby, flying in and out eating berries from a holly bush near our window, what an exciting experience.

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  • 243. At 8:14pm on 11 Jan 2010, Scobiefamily36 wrote:

    It seems so sad that in the good weather parents take their children to feed the ducks and other wildlife however they really need it now. I took my boys x4 to feed the ducks yesterday and they where so hungry they where stealing the food from the bag. We then had to go and buy wild bird seed because the small birds where trying to eat any crumb they could find. It was the same when we went to feed our horses; the normally timid birds where trying to eat food from the horses bowls at the same time as the horses and they where venturing into stables with them as well with no fear.The children have taken a real interest in our wildife because they can see it so closely at the moment,perhaps this will encourage thm to care this much in the future. Lets hope this is the case for many.

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  • 244. At 8:15pm on 11 Jan 2010, Salsa wrote:

    Hi Spring/Autumn/Snow Watch team! Great to hear about the show - yet more distractions from my revision, other than watching the bird feeders!

    As it's been so cold, I have been putting out fat balls for the small birds, and apples for the larger birds and have got about 3 fieldfares right in front of the house, and several thrushes as well! Brilliant, especially now with the RSPB booklet on garden birds.

    I was wondering if you could discuss interactions between bird species.

    I have seen robins chasing each other off (expected, as they are territorial) and fieldfares chasing each other off (ditto), but also robins chasing off all other tits from the feeder without feeding itself, blue tits scaring away much larger great tits etc.

    So I was wondering, is there a bird hierarchy when it comes to the bird feeder, or is it that if a bird comes to the feeder when another bird is on there, the first always goes away (which is in general what I see) and if so why?

    The obvious exception are the long-tailed tits - I have a record of 8 of them on 2 fat balls at one time :)


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  • 245. At 8:44pm on 11 Jan 2010, Geordie Elliott wrote:

    Looking forward to snow watch!

    We've welcomed many birds into our garden in Ayr this winter. A welcome visitor has been a redwing, which normally keeps out of the urban areas around here.

    Geordie & Sophia

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  • 246. At 8:47pm on 11 Jan 2010, JoannaM wrote:

    During our very cold and snowy weather I have seen one of my female blackbirds (I have 3 pairs in the garden) jumping up to peck at the fatballs hanging in a feeder. I have never seen this before. Also the birds have been very territorial fighting over the food, much more so than usual.

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  • 247. At 9:20pm on 11 Jan 2010, FIONA SHARP wrote:

    2 Fieldfares in our garden for the last few days. One is very territorial and chases everything else away but the other feeds happily with the other birds including the redwings, thrushes and blackbirds. The blackbird chases away the robin at every opportunity! I wish they would stop wasting all their energy and just feed. I find it really worrying.

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  • 248. At 9:50pm on 11 Jan 2010, Doug Broughton wrote:

    We live in the Forest of Dean, about 3 to 4 miles as the crow flies from Kates abode. Over the last 20 years we have experienced a wide variety of birds, namely blue tits, coal tits long tailed tits, sparrows, loads of these, Dunnocks, Robbins, Black Birds, Doves, Bull Finch, Chaffinch, Greater spotted woodpeckers, I think a Family, and Wrens, Field Fare i might have missed a few. All visit our feed tables for some or most of the year. We have a Sparrow Hawk who thinks we run a McDonalds for raptors. We actually had a buzzard land on our open table which measures 10x7 inch. We dont know if he caught his tea but he looked as surprised as me. We see Buzzards, brown, barn, and little owls and a small falcon that is so fast i cannot decide if it exists, let alone what it is. Last year a few miles away i saw a white Buzzard, I was told it was a 09 youngster.
    But in the 20 years we have lived here i had not seen, until Saturday 09/01/10 a Red Kite quartering the quarry at the back of our house, unmistakable and so majestic in its habit.
    Doug and Maureen

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  • 249. At 9:53pm on 11 Jan 2010, linda chant wrote:

    i have a garden pond of medium size with common gold fish in it.I made a small hole in the ice that had been there for a week and which was also covered in snow and the fish would hang around under the hole.One day i noticed the hole was filled with what at first looked like rotten plant material but when i put my hand in and cupped some up i was surprised to find it was a very large mass of pond shrimps that seemed to be pushing up into the hole and up in the air..why? will they freeze as that looked possible.

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  • 250. At 9:58pm on 11 Jan 2010, Doug Broughton wrote:

    Hi Again
    Forgot to say that we have more Blackbirds than ever this winter, Large black and Brown and they eat anything including the cat food we put out for a cat of unknown origin that has put us on his list of calling places.
    Doug and Maureen

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  • 251. At 10:16pm on 11 Jan 2010, julesyjules wrote:

    Fieldfare is becoming my pet now, I wish! There again this morning before work.

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  • 252. At 10:16pm on 11 Jan 2010, Allium wrote:

    We are in East Sussex and have also seen Redwings in the garden during the snowy spell and also a pair of snipes.

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  • 253. At 10:22pm on 11 Jan 2010, chris wrote:

    Usually see fieldfare in flocks in fields (!) but for the past three days I have had one in my garden, never moving from the holly tree, until yesterday, when there wasnt one berry left. Such a lovely bird close up, and lovely to see it scaring off the magpie, seagulls and even resident blackbird and robin.

    What a lovely sight when snowed in!

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  • 254. At 10:33pm on 11 Jan 2010, David Smithson wrote:

    Hi all, love all the stories about redwings blackbirds and all, we have many visitors to our garden and its fantastic I think we spend more money on bird food than we care to imagine however I mentioned the rescue of a butterfly in the snow in our garden on the 11th of jan and here we are at 13-30 pm and it is still on our carpet in the living room i know its not a perigrin falcon but after rescuing some bees with honey during the summer I'm now stuck with this very atractive butterfly on our carpet has anyone any ideas what I should be doing, I know its only a butterfly but its still alive help!!!!!!!!!!

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  • 255. At 10:38pm on 11 Jan 2010, David Smithson wrote:

    oops! lost the plot we rescued the butterfly early evening on the 10th of Jan and after more than 24 hours its flexing its wings in the living room My kids and grand kids are beginning to question my sanity oh well perhaps they have a point its only a butterfly

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  • 256. At 11:37pm on 11 Jan 2010, Debbs wrote:

    Hi David (post 254 255) I have fed butterflies in the summer with sugar water on cotton wool. There is a blog that recommends mixing 1/2 teaspoon sugar to 2 teaspoons water. Soaking tissue or cottonwool in it and placing butterfly on it - " Then I placed the butterfly on the Kleenex, unrolling its proboscis (the feeding mouthpart) using the straightened end of a paperclip. Once the proboscis was extended and touching the liquid around the Kleenex, the butterfly began to feed." They go on to say - "After the butterfly seemed to be finished feeding, I dipped its feet in some lukewarm water in a little saucer to clean the sugar off, then set it on a dry Kleenex to walk around,"
    I don't know about what to do with them when they are out too early but how about contacting one of the zoos that has a butterfly collection they should be able to advice you. Hope this helps. Tell your children if we all saved one bee or butterfly just think how many that would be!(BEE!)

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  • 257. At 11:52pm on 11 Jan 2010, DAVID BLACKFORD wrote:

    Have been watching huge numbers of fieldfares over the last few days - have never seen so many! But am surprised at how unsuccessful the food i have put out for the birds has been - sunfloer seeds, suet and meal worms left uneaten(even by the gulls!); peanuts were eaten but it took 3 days. i am left wondering just how much food birds need!

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  • 258. At 04:00am on 12 Jan 2010, Niamet wrote:

    My wife and I live near Gillespie Park - a little oasis of green near Arsenal's Emirates Stadium. A few weeks ago a flock (50-100) of Redwings took up residence. They devoured all the remaining berries. We put out some food also.

    Anyway, as my wife went to work and passed the flock by, something scared them - perhaps a kestrel, not sure. Two of the birds flew straight into a wall. One died immediately on impact and fell to the floor. One just appeared to have lost the power of flight. Very sad - but we look forward to more redwings returning next winter, once this flock has disappeared.

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  • 259. At 06:02am on 12 Jan 2010, leah wrote:

    In Whalley Range in Manchester the council haven't been able to collect the bins, because the roads have been so icy, but it seems to have meant lots of food for the foxes. I have seen more foxes this winter than ever before, and they all seem to be looking well fed often with healthy babies. Increasingly we are seeing them at earlier and earlier times, even on the main roads where it is busy, at about 8:00. We stood and watched one happily surveying us for 5 minutes or more only a meter and a half away, it just strolled over from behind a bush and sat down to look at us. It was all very exciting.

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  • 260. At 08:43am on 12 Jan 2010, Ceris wrote:

    I'm spending a small fortune on feeding my garden birds and squirrels, but they are so worth it. I have a blackbird which comes into my back yard and makes a heck of a noise if I'm late with the food. I have several hanging feeders to fill which gets done three times a day plus the ground food. My birds consist of blue tits, long tailed tits, great tits, blackbirds, robins, doves, chaffinches and a family of four squirrels.

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  • 261. At 08:46am on 12 Jan 2010, Ceris wrote:

    Hi, fogot to say where I live - Southsea, Wrexham (N.Wales)

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  • 262. At 09:35am on 12 Jan 2010, Tracey wrote:

    We have a Firethorn hedge in our garden which has prolific red berries each year. Last year the birds just weren't interested and we still had berries when it flowered again in the spring. This year we've had a couple of black birds eating the berries and for the first time ever a pair of Mistle Thrushes eating the berries - a real treat!

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  • 263. At 10:11am on 12 Jan 2010, Tony Houghton wrote:

    We have lived on the coast at Bracklesham in West Sussex for 30 years and we have never seen redwings anywhere before a week ago. We are now inundated with them; at least half a dozen in our garden at any one time, all day. They seem to ground feed as well as eating something in the elaeagnus hedge. At first we thought they were thrushes but then we noticed the pinky red feathers immediately under their wings. It's great to see them, but we do have a regular visiting sparrowhawk and I have feeling that their peace may be shattered in the near future!

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  • 264. At 10:20am on 12 Jan 2010, David Smithson wrote:

    Hi Debbs thanks for your reply I have mixed some sugar and water and put it on a tissue and placed the butterfly next to it and it appeared to feed without anu assistance so hopefuly it will continue to do so.

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  • 265. At 10:31am on 12 Jan 2010, Sussex Dodo wrote:

    Flocks of thrushes: We live on the South Coast, just inland from Worthing, West Sussex. We have not seen a thrush in our garden for years, then a few days ago there were two. The next day, nine and for the past couple of days there have been over thirty resting at one time in the large Ash tree at the bottom of our garden. Is the harsh weather causing this behaviour?

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  • 266. At 10:33am on 12 Jan 2010, lulu wrote:

    Since Januray 5th we have enjoyed increasing numbers of REDWING and FIELDFARE stripping the holly bushes of berries in our Worthing garden. There have been about 100 birds flitting between neighbouring gardens. It was very exciting to watch. Our daughter took some wonderful video. Unfortunately, they seem to have moved on today. We have never seen Fieldfare here before.
    We cannot wait to see Snow Watch - what a great idea. Thank you team!

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  • 267. At 10:39am on 12 Jan 2010, Karen Flippance wrote:

    I am in Didcot, Oxon. I have noticed that the birds have got braver. My partner has seen Fieldfare feeding on seed at the bottom of the garden. Also Wagtails and Blackbirds have been following my ponies round the field whilst they graze, as the ponies clear the snow away with their muzzles, normally it's the Rooks that follow them about! Also the Wrens are braver, seen one routing about in the muck heap just a few feet away.

    Unfortunately the foxes have been taking the chickens during the day much to the farmers dismay.

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  • 268. At 11:29am on 12 Jan 2010, basilthebuzzard wrote:

    Down in my area of West Somerset I have not seen one Redwing,every where else there seems to be flocks, why is this? Mind you, we seem to have cornered the market in Blackbirds, I counted 20, yes 20 in my garden in the tiny hamlet of Woolston yesterday afternoon and again this morning.

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  • 269. At 11:30am on 12 Jan 2010, Maria Joanne wrote:

    I live in Southampton and I have been feeding birds in my garden for a long time. Most of the birds visiting my garden have been the usual lot; blackbirds, blue tits, robins, spparows, occasionally "green woodpecker" or a sparrow hawk. Couple of days ago I noticed a new arrival which is creating a havoc in the garden and attacking all birds which try to feed. I am not sure if it is redwing or fieldfare but it is very aggressive towards other birds except wood pigeons because of their size I presume. It is chasing other birds and it will not let them near the food. I also noticed the it likes apple peel which other birds ignore. Have a picture (not very good as the bird is very constantly running around and chasing other birds) but not sure how to send it. This is a single bird which claims the garden as his own. The bird keeps constant watch on any approaching bird smaller than him and will not let them sit on the fence or a tree. It seems to waste so much energy chasing when other birds used to feed in harmony until now.

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  • 270. At 11:37am on 12 Jan 2010, Sue Atkins wrote:

    I have a hedgehog that has raken up residence in an old rabbit hutch!! This was back in October when we first noticed it so I put out a bit of cat food- every time I fed my cats I fed the hedgehog too! I put extra hay in and part coverd the whole hutch so I hope it will survive the winter. I did read something that said that hedgehogs must be at least a 1lb in weight to survive so I hope it has fattened up in the few weeks it has been resident.

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  • 271. At 12:21pm on 12 Jan 2010, Carolewatch wrote:

    Over the last couple of weeks the number of feathered visitors to our garden (on an estate next to farmland on the edge of a small Leicestershire town) has increased immensely after what seemed to be a quite a lull and they are a most welcome sight! I am now putting out heaps of crumble feed, grated cheese,roast potatoes, apples and mealworms (to name a few!) as well as the usual seed and nut feeders, fat balls and homemade birdcakes and it's never enough!
    We are now up to 18 species including finches, tits- blue, great coal and long-tailed. More unusually we have redwings, a male blackcap and most recently, and for the first time,a flock of 14 fieldfares, although this went down to 2 who have become extremely possessive and chasing the poor resident blackbirds! They are fantastic to see but have stripped our young and newly planted cotoneaster bare(so I'm hoping it grows really fast this year!) and have brought my housework to a standstill!
    We also have a very feisty pied wagtail that is chasing the poor robins and chaffinches and have a green woodpecker which puts in the odd appearence!

    Like everyone else, I can't wait for Snow Watch and hopefully an Unsprung? - keep up the good work!

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  • 272. At 12:24pm on 12 Jan 2010, Richard Fenn wrote:

    Over the weekend we spotted a Bullfinch and Blackcap very briefly in our garden in a village in Northants..first time in the garden, and only 2nd ever time we've seen a Bullfinch, need to get a photo now if they return!

    Also like most people lots of Fieldfares and Redwings have appeared.

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  • 273. At 12:25pm on 12 Jan 2010, AJB99 wrote:

    Like a lot of people we've noticed a great influx in the numbers of birds coming into the garden including our first Fieldfares and Grey Wagtail (which seems to like prawn crackers!). We also had Barn Owl fly over us last Sunday evening caught in the car's headlights which really thrilled the kids to see. We've also noticed that Partridges in particular seem to be more visible in the fields rather than just looking like lumps of earth.

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  • 274. At 12:58pm on 12 Jan 2010, maria wrote:

    cannot see my original message. Have a group of fieldfares that are currently eating berries from our hawthorn tree, also a group of long tailed tits have been seen in our area this year, and for a few weeks a goldcrest came to eat the berries as well. I am putting out additional food as well. Alot more that last year. The fieldfare is such an amazing bird with it's striking strippy white breast.
    maria, warmley, bristol

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  • 275. At 1:30pm on 12 Jan 2010, Rose Molyneux wrote:

    I live on the outskirts of Bristol, and at around the same time as the snow came a fieldfare appeared in our garden. I'm not sure if that counts as 'extraordinary' but i've never seen one before! The poor thing keeps being chased off by a blackbird. We also have had a Black Redstart in the garden for most of the winter.

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  • 276. At 2:18pm on 12 Jan 2010, Dan the Dog wrote:

    Hi, we also have a flock of 60+ Redwing in our area [Bexhill-on-Sea]. They are now coming into the town searching for food as the surrounding fields are snowbound. Other recent sightings include Fieldfare, Lapwing, Stonechat, Snipe & Kestrel as well as the usual culprits. Plenty of Tits around here too.

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  • 277. At 2:24pm on 12 Jan 2010, Bluey wrote:

    Heard about this show last night when my husband rang to say he'd seen a trailer for it. Needless to say its was programmed to record there and then.


    Snow. Love it. Not seen this much since my own childhood back in the late 70's/early 80's. I've had about 12 blackbirds and many chaffinches hanging around my garden all waiting for me to put out food on the ground first thing of a morning. Some of the blackbirds have even discovered how to land on the fat feeder to eat the fat cake. I've got 2 wrens roosting in a roosting pocket attached to the climbing plant at the back of the house.

    Best of all, having been outside taking pictures, I thought I'd get a few more from inside and had my camera at the right time, right place to catch a fox in broad daylight (about 10-11am) wandering through my garden.

    Looking forward to the show.

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  • 278. At 2:36pm on 12 Jan 2010, Victoria wrote:

    I have been out religiously feeding the birds that come to our garden on a daily basis during this cold weather. I have a nice selection of birds, which are gold finches, house sparrows, blue tits, coal tits, great tits, a robin, starlings, collared doves, and 6 blackbirds, fighting over food.

    During this cold weather, we've had a red kite fly over head, and a song thrush visit occasionally to the bird table. In our street I have seen a number of Redwings, and a field fare. This is more amazing, as I live in the suburbs of Leeds.

    As the snow is now thawing, the squirrel has come looking for food, and we now have five wood pigeons feeding on the lawn. Certainly makes these snowy winter days more interesting.

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  • 279. At 2:39pm on 12 Jan 2010, Fiona wrote:

    We always feed the birds who visit our garden and have several varieties, but since the snow we have spotted two different breeds.There was a single nuthatch feeding from the sunflower hearts & eating the catch from the cobwebs.Also a pair of fieldfares who were feeding from the berries on our garden bush(hawthorn?) and the fruit from our crabapple tree.

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  • 280. At 2:45pm on 12 Jan 2010, Leicesterlass wrote:

    For several days we have had a flock of firstly redwings then joined by fieldfares around our garden. One of the fieldfares has adopted the garden as his own territory. The only problem is he is the Attila the Hun of fieldfares and is trying (and usually succeeding)to stop any other bird feeding in the garden.

    We have fatballs, mealworms, apples, seeds, peanuts and water out and he is attacking anything that dares to try and feed.

    Our usual blackbirds, various tits, robins, wood pigeons, even the woodpecker are being seen off by him. I saw a blackcap land yesterday and start on a half apple but he was soon seen off by the fieldfare.

    Any suggestions?

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  • 281. At 2:46pm on 12 Jan 2010, Lesley Bland wrote:

    We have had a woodcock in our garden the last two days.I have no live food left is there a substitute food I could put down for it.I also have 3 dogs which is a bit of a problem.We live in West Sussex near the downs.

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  • 282. At 2:49pm on 12 Jan 2010, Julian wrote:

    Three days ago a red kite was over the harbour at Aberystwyth. I have seen them 4 miles up the Rheidol valley in the past but not over the town.

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  • 283. At 2:51pm on 12 Jan 2010, M Davies wrote:

    There is still a thick layer of ice in my garden and the pond remains frozen despite the beginning of the thaw so the birds - and the fox - are still desperate for food. We have seen new birds appear this year that we haven't seen in the garden before; a pair of Fieldfare's and Songthrush - both never in the garden before but both looking for food. The Goldcrest has also reappeared and is particularly keen on the fatballs! I actually have been feeding the fox on the coldest nights by giving it the leftover cat food. I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing to feed the fox, but as the ground is so hard, I felt sorry for it. Don't know how common Songthrushes and Fieldfare's are in Glasgow as I haven't ever seen them in the garden before, but they are still regular visitors for the timebeing along with the usual birds that visit every day (Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Siskin, Coaltit, Bluetit, Great Tit, Robin, Wren, Dunnock etc).

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  • 284. At 3:02pm on 12 Jan 2010, Wyeme wrote:

    I'm looking forward to the programme this evening. I live on a rural hillside in the Peak District and we have had snow lying since 17th December. We always feed the birds so most of the locals are regular visitors to our garden. The only new visitors are a beautiful thrush, who was terribly shy before Christmas, but is now a confident feeder, and collared doves, which surprises me as I don't usually see them in our very rural setting.

    There are lapwings about and getting ever closer to the garden. Is there anything that they might eat if we put it out? (We currently supply sunflower kernels, fatballs, peanuts, old bread and occasionally mealworms.)

    I'm worried about the owl population around us. We have barn owls, tawny owls and little owls. How will they be coping and what will they be eating now? Is there anything we can do to support them during these tough times?

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  • 285. At 3:07pm on 12 Jan 2010, Mrs Carol Piper wrote:

    Finchley, North London - I woke up at 4.00 a.m. 6th Jan and had a look out of the window at the front of the house at the thick snow which had just fallen. I saw two young foxes playing in the pristine snow in the road, rolling and jumping about. One found a scarf in the road and they were having a tug of war. Then one climbed onto the garden wall and jumped off onto the other one, the scarf got stuck on a rose bush and they spent a few minutes pulling it off before racing down the road. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera to hand. Earlier on in the evening I saw an adult fox run up the road with a snowball in its mouth.
    We feed the foxes so there are plenty in the area. The foxes put the security light on in the garden when they want to be fed and the birds are usually waiting to be fed in the morning when we get up.

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  • 286. At 3:12pm on 12 Jan 2010, Michele wrote:

    I feed my birds all year round from a variety of feeders in my small suburban garden. During the freezing weather I have put out extra fat cakes, suet pellets and live meal worms. I have been rewarded with lots of additional visitors over the last fortnight. I was surprised to count 7 Blackbirds (5 males & 2 females)feeding simultaneously as my garden is usually the host to a one pair. I have also had a solitary Redwing (who was resting after eating all the berries on my neighbour's plants). A small troop of 5 Long Tailed Tits has now made my garden a regular feeding area and a Blackcap has also appeared since the snow arrived. My starling count has peaked at 20... there may have been more but I can't count any faster and they keep moving!!

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  • 287. At 3:36pm on 12 Jan 2010, Amanda wrote:

    I too have seen new visitors to my garden, really since the cold snap started before Christmas. Today, on returning after a few days away working, i have 12 Redwings and 2 Fieldfares.

    I haven't previously seen either in my garden, in fact i only usually see the regular Blackbird family, a Robin, numerous Starlings and a handful of Pigeons.

    The attraction is a crab-apple tree, now nearly stripped bare by the Fieldfare. He chased chased all other birds off so i was very surprised to see him & 'partner' sharing the remaining pickings with the dozen Redwings.

    The Fieldfare seems extremely territorial - are they? or is he just protecting the food source in a very cold snap?

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  • 288. At 3:37pm on 12 Jan 2010, liabirdie wrote:

    the snow has bought redwings to the front of our house, also more song thrushes and black birds than normal to our back garden and bird table. In the summer we had 3 jays and great spotted woodpeckers. At this moment about 6 long tailed tits are visiting along with the blue tits, great tits, sparrows, robins and several others. We also had waxwings just down the road a few years ago.
    we are in kent up on a hill its great for wild life including foxes and grey squirrels, wood pigeons and collared doves.we also had a sparrowhawk once.

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  • 289. At 4:29pm on 12 Jan 2010, Emma wrote:

    We love watching the birds come to our feeders in our garden in Beetley Norfolk.The feeders have been very busy with the snowy weather and falling tempatures.This weather has brought us such delight as on Saturday 9th Jan redwings started to visit us.We have never seen them in our garden before and they have visited us ever since.They love our cotenaster and our slowly stripping it of berries.They are such a lovely bird and we are loving their presence.
    We also like visiting the North Norfolk coast and on Sunday we saw some water rails at Titchwell Nature reserve.

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  • 290. At 4:34pm on 12 Jan 2010, wigan54 wrote:

    I have a mistle thrush in the garden thats taken over my bird feeding station he lets the smaller birds feed as long as they dont go near the bird table but any blackbirds starlings or woodpigeons are chased away very quickly the other day he was fighting with a woodpigeon the pigeon lost the starlings now wait until the thrush is not around then they sneak in for a feed but after less than a minute
    in swoops the thrush and quickly despatches them all he then stands on the lawn wings outstretched calling out probably warning other birds that this is now his patch and keep out
    from steve.

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  • 291. At 4:42pm on 12 Jan 2010, Marilyn Carter wrote:

    I have a fieldfare and a grey wagtail coming into my garden to feed at the moment. The fieldfare seems especially partial to the lard cakes that I make for the birds. I also heard a tawny owl a few weeks ago whilst I was still sleeping with the bedroom window open. Alas tis too cold for that now. Am really looking forward to the Snow Watch program.

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  • 292. At 5:03pm on 12 Jan 2010, juliaandwiggy wrote:

    I have to join the ranks of people who have seen loads of fieldfares recently. Had never seen them before, but am new to this area (Byfleet, Surrey), so they may be a normal sight here! Also saw a bullfinch, loads of long-tailed tits, a profusion of pied wagtails, green parakeets (I know - not a native species), a fox and a sparrowhawk being mobbed by a wagtail (can a single bird "mob"?), not to mention one very bouncy lurcher, during my dog walks over the past week. I love snow!
    Looking forward to tomorrow's show.

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  • 293. At 5:49pm on 12 Jan 2010, HiddenBadger wrote:

    Hi Team! Cold enough for you? :) Well I've noticed that both tolerance and aggressiveness between birds and animals in my gardens has been a bit unusual since the snow came and The Freeze took hold. Squirrels seem less fussy over sharing feeding times with other birds - I've had one sharing the Coconut feeders with Starlings recently at the same time - not seen this before. Squirrels seem very sociable with all the birds actually. I have two Fieldfare around at the moment, seldom seen in my neighbourhood, who seem to be hanging-out with the Starlings and Blackbirds. I have a Robin (who's starting to trust me which is nice!) who I've noticed sees off the Song Thrushes who are quite aggressive - yet now allows the Blackbirds to feed -normally this would not happen as the Robin basically owns my garden! I wonder, if in such merciless freezing weather, that some birds and animals do begin to show empathy for each other?

    oh and by the way.. how are those Mice doing Martin?!

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  • 294. At 6:51pm on 12 Jan 2010, William wrote:

    We are with the British Army in Germany, and we have lots of snow as well! In our Garden we are feeding the birds, we feed them nuts and seeds. Every day we have at least 5 or 6 blackbirds that come early in the morning and stay most of the day! We have noticed that one of the blackbirds does not seem to eat much but is always chasing the others away, and is not very nice to them, why does he do this, and will the others be getting enough to eat? (the other birds do not seem to fight).
    Hope you can tell me the answer. William (aged 7)

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  • 295. At 7:33pm on 12 Jan 2010, Kim Bentley wrote:

    Looking forward to the programme tomorrow.

    My garden was visited today by a large group of Redwings, at least 10. Having never seen these birds before it made my day. Any advise
    on what I can put out for them to eat would be greatly appreciated.

    many thanks

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  • 296. At 7:36pm on 12 Jan 2010, caz wrote:

    The cold weather has bought 2 fieldfares to my garden never had them before.. and instead of 2 robins i have 5 this winter and they don't seem to be bothered about guarding teritory..just eating

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  • 297. At 8:25pm on 12 Jan 2010, Angela Ellison wrote:

    We have had a flock of redwings flying into our garden from the trees in a school opposite us. We have never seen them before - we are in Cheshire. In the last couple of days they seem to have disappeared after feeding on the berries on our pyracantha (spelling?) bushes for the last couple of weeks. We have also had a few fieldfares which, again, we have never seen before.

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  • 298. At 8:26pm on 12 Jan 2010, Davina Payne wrote:

    Hi there!

    We live in Worthing, West Sussex and for the first time have seen a huge flock of redwings & fieldfares right outside our house, eating all the berries on surrounding bushes (that is when the resident blackbird
    hasn't chased them off!) This has never happened before as we live in a residential area and have only ever seen these birds at our local RSPB reserve at Pulborough Brooks -they've kept us quite entertained :)
    Love the shows by the way - keep them coming!

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  • 299. At 8:28pm on 12 Jan 2010, Dawn wrote:

    We now have thousands of redwings to add to the thousands of fieldfares in Jersey. According to a local ornithologist who was interviewed on Jersey radio yesterday said that we usually only have around 200 fieldfares visiting Jersey in the winter, but he reckons that this year there could be getting on for 10,000!

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  • 300. At 8:35pm on 12 Jan 2010, JustWandering wrote:

    A couple of fieldfares have taken up residence in our garden in Romsey, Hampshire. They of course an unusual visitor at this time. They join the the blue tits, great tits, robins, long-tailed tits, pheasants and other garden birds scouring out the food we put out.
    Along with that, you can hear the foxes at night underway with their mating season till you see the tracks in the woods the next day. The snow has also brought evidence of badgers in our nextdoor wood: fingers crossed!

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  • 301. At 8:57pm on 12 Jan 2010, Keith Aveling wrote:

    We Live in SE9 near the Royal Blackheath Golf Club and today the 12th January 2010 my partner Sheila saw 9 Redwing on the contonyasta. This is London. What a fabntastic sight it must of been we did have 1 on Sunday as well.

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  • 302. At 9:21pm on 12 Jan 2010, miss susan thompson wrote:

    Load of Fieldfars, very pretty bird, countless Black Birds, Mag pies, Green Finches, and the odd fox, then have kept me entertain for hours, oh and the odd fox now and then

    Love the prog

    Sue from Thornbury, Bristol

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  • 303. At 9:29pm on 12 Jan 2010, sallyd1958 wrote:

    There are flocks of sparrows and starlings, several pairs of blackbirds, collared doves and wood pigeons along with bluetits, coaltits, long tailed tits, dunnocks, robins, goldfinches and chaffinches coming to the garden who are scoffing as much food as we can put out - I bought a 25kg bag on 8th Jan I thought would last for a couple of months but I don't think it will see out the end of next week. Last week a female black cap appeared in the garden for the first time along with a pied wagtail thought they are very shy.

    Robins we are told are territorial but I have never witnessed this until recently. However the only birds they are aggressive to in my garden are dunnocks. One robin in particular will not let the dunnocks feed at all. Is there any particular reason for this or is it just because they are smaller?

    Looking forward to the show tomorrow.

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  • 304. At 9:29pm on 12 Jan 2010, Michael Taylor wrote:

    The snow is now slowly thawing here in East Hertfordshire(though more forecast for tonight)but we have had fieldfares in the garden defending our apple tree and the windfalls I put out against the regular song thrushes and blackbirds and today (a first for this garden) a charm of goldfinches came in with the usual flocks (15-20 rather than the usual 5 or 6) of chaffinches and greenfinches for the mixed seed. I was astonished.

    If the feeding frenzy that happened in the garden this afternoon is anything to go by, this cold spell is far from over

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  • 305. At 9:55pm on 12 Jan 2010, pastafarian wrote:

    Down our way it is quite rare to see such large flocks of fieldfare or redwing unless the weather is really bad so this last week or two has been a real treat. I have been particularly struck at how "tame"? they have seemed which has allowed me to get close enough, (six feet away at times) to take some nice photographs without scaring them or having to lug a telephoto lens and a tripod about. I know it seems that they are preoccupied with what almost amounts to a feeding frenzy but are they just "too busy" to notice us humans or don't they regard us as a threat when feeding is such a priority?

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  • 306. At 10:08pm on 12 Jan 2010, Richard Hughes wrote:

    I live just outside a small village between Harrogate and Ripon. On new year's eve I noticed a small flock of snipe huddled on a patch of exposed grass in a snow covered field near the village. This is the first time I have seen a flock of snipe in the locality and I can only assume they had been frozen off their usual feeding grounds. As of yesterday at least two birds we still in the area and on a couple of occasions have been seen in our garden. We have a beck running down the side of the garden, overhung with trees and they were feeding at the water's edge.

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  • 307. At 10:15pm on 12 Jan 2010, francesg wrote:

    When so many extra berries appeared on the trees during autumn the old saying 'It's going to be a hard winter' crossed my mind. Something happened two days ago in my garden in north London which I had never seen before having lived here for 38yrs. At any one time there were at least 10-15 red wings eating the orange pyracantha berries. The size of the flock could have been around 50 spread around the closest gardens. They stayed for most of the day returning for a short time the next day after which most of the berries had been eaten.
    This was one small pyracantha bush - the birds must be desperate for food and it shows how we must plant for all wildlife especially in times like these. It was a delight to see them perched so close, my usual sighting is when they fly across the fields of Norfolk. francesg

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  • 308. At 11:08pm on 12 Jan 2010, FIONA SHARP wrote:

    Aw a local cat pounced on one of the Fieldfares today. Youngest daughter saw it and chased the cat away but doesnt know what had happened to the Fieldfare. Hope its okay.

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  • 309. At 11:24pm on 12 Jan 2010, jeztorrance wrote:

    Gosh! Thank you all for your wonderful stories, comments and questions. Martin has been positively buzzing with the response. In the words of our executive producer a few days ago: 'We love our audience'.

    We'll answer the best of the questions in the show (Weds, 8pm BBC2 remember!) but obviously we won't have time for all of them. So we'll try to answer as many as we can right here over the next few days.

    Thanks once again.

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  • 310. At 00:02am on 13 Jan 2010, salohcinq wrote:

    When out in the snow on 7th January in the South Wiltshire Countryside I took 3 photos of interesting animal tracks in the snow. The tracks include:
    1. A cross shape animal track.
    2. 2 wavy lines with small prints and a second set of animal tracks.
    3. A large 5 digit paw print found in a village garden.
    I have uploaded the photos to the Snow Watch Flickr photo stream (Screen name Trackton). Please can the Snow Watch team identify these interesting snow tracks.
    Thank you

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  • 311. At 00:31am on 13 Jan 2010, Debbs wrote:

    264 David Smithson - Hi David, so pleased your butterfly is feeding. Hopefully the team maybe able to tell you what to do next. Carry on the good work!!

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  • 312. At 00:46am on 13 Jan 2010, Debbs wrote:

    My question for the team is this - where on earth are all these Redwing and Fieldfare normally hiding? I know they're meant to be in the fields but it must be 20 years since I saw one there and yet everyone all over the country seem to have flocks of them. Driving through Dartford Redwing are everywhere - the middle of a small roundabout before the Dartford Tunnel turnoff, the grass verges on the roads and dual carriageways and obviously gardens. It's lovely to see them but so sad that they are hungry and dying from drinking salty road water.

    Another thing I think is sad is just how few people care about wildlife. Looking from my windows none of my neigbours seem to be putting out food and I've heard people trying to discourage others as it will attract vermin. At hospital restaurant today saw a fox in the grounds and threw out my crusts from lunch for it - much to others bemusement or disgust - but another lady got up and joined me by throwing her crusts out too. Magpies came down and started burying the food straight away!

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  • 313. At 01:37am on 13 Jan 2010, salohcinq wrote:

    Further to my earlier post (310) the links to the animal tracks are:

    Original Message:
    "When out in the snow on 7th January in the South Wiltshire Countryside I took 3 photos of interesting animal tracks in the snow. The tracks include:
    1. A cross shape animal track.
    2. 2 wavy lines with small prints and a second set of animal tracks.
    3. A large 5 digit paw print found in a village garden.
    I have uploaded the photos to the Snow Watch Flickr photo stream (Screen name Trackton). Please can the Snow Watch team identify these interesting snow tracks.
    Thank you"

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  • 314. At 02:52am on 13 Jan 2010, Barbara Chapman wrote:

    Brilliant idea for Snow Watch - will be glues to the TV! I have been fascinated by the behaviour of one lady Blackbird in our garden who after guzzling all the pyracantha berries (see my photo pn Flickr (Lghistorian)she wacthed the robin and tits using the feeder for a few days and has now taught herself to feed from our seed feeder in the front garden. Seh does this by sitting on a closeby perch and stretching up to the outlet. Each time I try to photograph her though she goes out of site behind the feeder and you can't see what she is doing. May try a video clip if she's still doing it int he morning.

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  • 315. At 05:57am on 13 Jan 2010, Niamet wrote:

    I do have a question for you all.

    If we have so many birds visiting all sorts of city habitats, will we get lots more raptors coming into the city for a seasonal feast?

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  • 316. At 08:49am on 13 Jan 2010, Grahame wrote:

    We had a flock of Redwing (about 3 dozen)in the garden from January 8 until 12th when the snow started to thaw around here (Dartford, Kent)
    Any idea why they stripped our Pyrocantha bush but largely ignored the larger one in the next garden . They frequently sat in the tree overlooking this bush before coming to ours.
    Snowing quite well again now so maybe they'll come back.

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  • 317. At 08:50am on 13 Jan 2010, Christopher Gray wrote:

    Apart from the normal Fieldfare and Redwing at this time of year, we were surprised to see a WOODCOCK foraging around in the leaf litter in our back garden at Portmahomack, on the north east Scottish coast.

    I've posted a couple of photos on the flickr group

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  • 318. At 08:54am on 13 Jan 2010, Grahame wrote:

    Tuesday 5th. Walking along the beach from Minnis Bay to Reculver in Kent we saw what appeared to be three Snow Bunting by the lagoon near Reculver. Is this likely? If not what else might they be.
    Have only seen Snow Bunting once, eleven years ago on Cairngorm, so not confident of our identification.
    Also saw a Green Woodpecker which looked completely out of place on a snow covered beach.

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  • 319. At 08:59am on 13 Jan 2010, Jai wrote:

    We've spotted some unusual visitors to our garden this winter. A pied wagtail seems to come back every year but, for the first time, there's been a female blackcap feeding from the bird table which we've been very excited about, but what really surprised us was the fox that was darting about the road in the front of our house yesterday. We live in Stroud, Gloucestershire, within a small housing estate quite close to the local park and not far from the canal. The fox didn't look very healthy and we wondered if he was desperately looking for food - what do you think?

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  • 320. At 09:15am on 13 Jan 2010, comment99 wrote:

    A Merseyside urban garden with two fieldfares very active but sadly a dead firecrest found under a bush - appears simply to have died. How unusual is it to get one so far north?

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  • 321. At 09:59am on 13 Jan 2010, David Banks wrote:

    Over the last 10days or so we and several neighbours have seen two large white birds which look like herons but are smaller and fly with their legs extended behind their bodies.
    These have been on local farmland, on the banks of streams and in our garden. We have identified them as Egrets but we are just north of the Trent to the east of Nottingham.
    Have others seen anything similar this far north?

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  • 322. At 10:52am on 13 Jan 2010, Andrew Carter wrote:

    Our young puppy (5 months) has found 3 dying Redwing in 3 days. These have been weighing around 46.5 grams - rather less than the 60 or so grams they should weigh.
    I farm on in south Wiltshire and the 100 or so duck normally here on the Avon water meadows and gone up to over 900 mostly Teal - spectacular.
    In the harsh cold of last week the 2 or 3 groups did not flush as usual but kept tightly together and just moved a further 100 metres up the channel until I actually walked close to put grain down for them at which point they lifted normally. Then as I walked away duck were already returning. So even the larger birds are suffering.

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  • 323. At 11:03am on 13 Jan 2010, justjudi wrote:

    I inadvertently discovered a way to prevent the mistle thrushes from guarding the ground feeder.
    The cat charged down the garden while one mistle thrush was in the cage and scared it silly. They’re not the most elegant of birds and it struggled to get out fast enough. No harm done, but I haven’t seen them since and the blackbirds appear to be back.
    I know it wasn’t the ideal solution, and I hope the thrushes are OK and feeding happily, either from the garden or elsewhere in the neighbourhood. I’ll look out for them again at the weekend.

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  • 324. At 11:10am on 13 Jan 2010, Kirsty wrote:

    The one thing that I have really noticed during all this snow is the presence of the'Fieldfare' here in Malvern, Worcestershire. This is a bird that I had never seen before and I even had to identify it from a guidebook. There seem to be a lot of them about and they have enjoyed eating apples in our garden. I wonder if anyone else has a comment about the 'Fieldfare'?

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  • 325. At 11:11am on 13 Jan 2010, BrendaC wrote:

    On Sunday evening around 9 o'clock I looked out of the window at the snow and saw a long billed bird. We looked it up in the bird book and discovered that it was a Woodcock. As I live in Mid-Sussex with no rivers nearby I thought this was rather a strange place to see one.

    Brenda, Burgess Hill, Sussex.

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  • 326. At 11:11am on 13 Jan 2010, john white wrote:

    We live within a 5 minute walk from Tring Reservoirs and surrounding canals. Since the canals have been frozen we have watched a kingfisher daily up and down one canal, but the best treat was to watch no less than three kingfishers darting together on a stretch of free flowing water at the end of Startops Carpark on the Tring Reservoir. They were not deterred by the many photographers and walkers who stopped to watch them. Yesterday, four days since our first viewing, we returned to the site and spent some time watching two. Our our garden is set in a rural location and we regularly feed the birds. We have resident pairs of song thrushes, collared doves and blackbirds; robins, goldfinches, most of the tit family, hedge sparrows and of late, new arrivals a pair of little bunting which seem to stay around all day. Whenever it is snowy wagtails arrive, and yesterday a greater spotted woodpecker dared to venture to a nearby ash tree. Across the lane we have a field with an even greater variety of birds. We often hear the woodpecker there but rarely see him. We do have a visiting barn owl but have not seen or heard him for some weeks. We have had visiting redpolls and fieldfares taking all the holly berries. Interestingly there have been very few starlings and sparrows around, and a very plump pheasant is missing. I must admit that we do not encourage the larger birds i.e. rooks, crows, jackdaws and magpies, but they still come. It seems that the three squirrels that live in the holly tree have decided to keep warm in their dray, and have not put in an appearance for days. Badgers have taken to the compost for food. They were very active in the autumn feeding off of our fallen fruits and digging up the gardens for slugs etc. Swans and geese that frequent the reservoirs and canals seem to be staying put. Many years ago we used to keep chickens and I remember how they enjoyed cooked potato peelings. We have been mixing these with crushed peanuts, bread oats and grain much to the birds delight.

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  • 327. At 11:14am on 13 Jan 2010, Julie Harnett wrote:

    We live in north somerset (about 12 miles south of bristol) and are lucky to get a large range of birds visiting our garden. During the last few weeks, we have a male blackcap visiting our bird feeders. That's not unusual but what is strange is that he appears to spend most of his time actively chasing away any other bird that dares to attempt to feed! He's very active - not to mention somewhat violent with his antics! The poor old goldfinches, greenfiches, robins, bluetits etc don't stand a chance! The ground feeding birds (including the not often seen redwings) seem to be avoidng the blackcaps attentions (in the main!). Is this common behavour that I just haven't noticed before or is it indicative of the colder weather and reduced food supplies?

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  • 328. At 11:14am on 13 Jan 2010, Kevj wrote:

    Well...it would seem that the Autumn bounty of Berries of all kinds has proven useful to our wildlife this Winter; I noticed (here in Wilford Village, Nottingham) a gang of Redwings visiting our gardens' Yew Trees every day, which is something I've not seen for years here.

    Only yesterday, I had a Kestrel circling low over the house ( so low I could see its eyes) , again unusual for as you know they prefer more open and less populated areas - it was calling too. Something I wouldn't normally expect...even though we're semi rural.

    But I also heard for the first time the 'Spring' Song of the Robin(s) all very active at the moment. I am wondering if we're getting this influx of Redwing, & circling Kestral is due to the fact that compared to most of the Country, Nottinghamshire (Central) has escaped relatively lightly in terms of snow volumes, thus pushing the birds into areas where there is greater food opportunites.

    Good to see you all back too :)

    Kevj Nottingham

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  • 329. At 11:18am on 13 Jan 2010, paul sellen wrote:

    Fieldfares, we have seen flocks of up to 100 at work through the snow feeding on berries just stripping the bushs clean, even had them in the garden at home. A most welcome sight compared to all our other garden visitors.

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  • 330. At 11:19am on 13 Jan 2010, veggiegirl wrote:

    Last winter through all the cold weather we had lots of Redpolls visiting our feeders. This year we haven't seen any - where have they gone? (Have got a huge flock of fieldfares which does help though!)

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  • 331. At 11:21am on 13 Jan 2010, Isobel Carter wrote:


    I wondered if one of the programmes could tell us the difference between Goshawks, female Sparrow Hawks and Buzzards. All three have been landing in different parts of the garden and are often identifiable in flight but not close up on the ground. It would be good to see the colouring in repose from different angles and the colour, shape and size of claws. We also have kites which have spread to the upper Neath valley but so far we have not seen them on the ground.

    I would also like to be able to identify different animal tracks in the snow. There seems to be a lot of drama after dark in our garden which is a surprise as we thought we were the only people living here!

    Many thanks

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  • 332. At 11:23am on 13 Jan 2010, Kevj wrote:

    Oh, I forgot to list the other visitors ( the Yew Tree - has been groaning with berries this season) Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare, RedWings - and yes, I can tell the difference...have visited the garden this year.

    A lot of Long-tail tits, flitting around in their usual gang, in amongst the trees and hedges...and regularly been visited by Starlings, which seemed to have returned to us, after an absence of a few weeks, when I normally see them, prior to migration.

    Kevj Nottingham (again)

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  • 333. At 11:26am on 13 Jan 2010, C J wrote:

    We live in North Yorkshire. Our house has an average-sized garden front and back. To the south and east there are other houses and the road but on the north side there is an open field and a lightly wooded area to the west.

    The snow first fell on 18th December and is still with us. We have seen several times a sparrow hawk swoop down into the front garden and snatch one of the smaller birds hovering around the feeders which we hang on the tree. Once, the hawk only just beat a kestrel to it. The kestrel perched on our fence waiting for the hawk to fly off with its catch and then followed it when it did. Another time the hawk devoured its catch on the raised flower bed in the back garden.

    In past winters we have had up to 7 pheasants at a time in our back garden eating the bits which fall from the bird feeders. This year we have seen only one: I wonder if the others have been shot.

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  • 334. At 11:27am on 13 Jan 2010, Geoff Coe wrote:

    I've spent the last hour watching a number of redwings feeding on my cotoneaster... a first in my garden an absolute pleasure!

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  • 335. At 11:30am on 13 Jan 2010, bj sutherland wrote:

    Please ask the team for their views on the effects on our fauna to all this extra salt/grit we are introducing to the road side verges and landscape during this prolonged cold/snow snap ,_ _ _ I look forward to your comments, Thankyou, from Barrie James Sutherland (Rotherham, South Yorkshire).

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  • 336. At 11:34am on 13 Jan 2010, Alan Craxford wrote:

    I think we witnessed the ultimate in the winter food chain today. We regularly put food out for our birds. There have been three or four fieldfares in our garden (coastal north east of England) over the last three weeks primarily attracted by the last of the crab apples. Bullies they are, really, fighting off the attentions of our usual blackbird, thrush and robin visits. This morning we were alerted by a loud alarm chorus and were just in time to see one of the fieldfares explode in a cloud of feathers as it was hit by a hawk (sparrowhawk I think). The body was swiftly carried off leaving just debris in the middle of the lawn. Nature I guess but brings a new meaning to feed the birds when the weather is bad!- Alan

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  • 337. At 11:35am on 13 Jan 2010, dtownshend wrote:

    We had a pair of Woodcocks venture into our garden, looking for insects under our shrubs. I have never seen this bird before and I was amazed by their beautiful markings. I would love to send some photos, but I don't have a Flickr acount and don't wish to join Yahoo, is there another way to send them to you?

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  • 338. At 11:39am on 13 Jan 2010, C J wrote:

    Me again. Have been reading other comments about fieldfares and redwing. We have not seen any this year, despite having a lot of hawthorn in and around our garden.

    Thought you might like to know that a grey squirrel (a regular visitor our garden) devised a way of gnawing through or unhooking fat-balls from our bird-table. Once, we saw him/her rolling a large one up the lawn.

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  • 339. At 11:49am on 13 Jan 2010, Geoff Coe wrote:

    I've spent the last hour watching a number of redwings feeding on my cotoneaster...a first in my Nottingham garden and an absolute pleasure!

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  • 340. At 12:12pm on 13 Jan 2010, Emma Botwright wrote:

    We live in Durham in the North East of England years ago we planted trees in our field and we now have a little forest which has deer living in it. I noticed the deer eating the Ivy near the field entrance just before christmas & wondered what we could do to help them while there was so much snow about so I sent an email to The Deer Society they replied very quickly & said they didnt really encourage people to feed the deer but because of the terrible weather we could feed them pony nuts & apples. We went out and bought some pony nuts and have been feeding the deer every day since Christmas Eve. I go out every morning and fill up an old quality street tin with pony nuts for them & by the next morning they have all gone, its so nice to see their tracks up to the tin. Im glad Im helping them in some way. I actually finally saw them for the first time the other day there was a medium sized deer and then a little one I was so happy.

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  • 341. At 12:13pm on 13 Jan 2010, Julia Pugh wrote:


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  • 342. At 12:19pm on 13 Jan 2010, Glenn Johnson wrote:

    On January 12th we've started getting a single Field Fare in the garden. And seeing that we live in the middle of Brecon and that the Field Fare is bird that mostly lives in hedges in the country. I was wondering if this is a common occurance, Or just because of the harsh winter we have had?

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  • 343. At 12:24pm on 13 Jan 2010, Sarah-jane wrote:

    I have just spent 45 minutes watching 20+ fieldfares stripping red berry bushes outside of my living room window. I also have a very camera shy green woodpecker which visits my front garden for ants.

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  • 344. At 12:35pm on 13 Jan 2010, susan lee wrote:


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  • 345. At 12:39pm on 13 Jan 2010, Ronald wall wrote:

    As a hedgehog carer in Herefordshire, in the last 10 days I have been called out a few times to pick up young hedgehogs that have been found out in the snow. These hedgehogs weighing aroung 300g half the safe weight of a hibernating hedgehog. These hogs not only should be hibernating but must have been born in November. We must keep an eye open for these lovely animals.

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  • 346. At 12:59pm on 13 Jan 2010, Liz wrote:

    Hi, this weather has certainly brought some different birds to the garden, Redwing, Fieldfare and Blackcap all being new garden birds for me. In response to the queries about what to feed the Redwing and Fieldfare I have found that the thrushes in general appreciate apples.
    I have a question for the team - I believe that the wintering population of Blackcaps are generally supposed to have come from Germany and this behaviour has 'evolved' in response to recent milder winters. I also believe that birds that fly south in winter (our usual concept of normal migration) often keep going until they reach warmer climes. As the Blackcaps have more or less moved west, they can't really keep going can they? So is this weather more likely to have a devastating effect on them?
    Thanks, Liz

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  • 347. At 1:01pm on 13 Jan 2010, Glenda White wrote:

    Please can you help. We have lots of bird feeders round the garden containing peanuts, robin feed, fat balls and niger seeds. We also have berries, hips and haws. Due to this we have a huge variety of birds that visit, including some big birds, fieldfares, jays and woodpeckers. So far so good, but a blackcap/marsh tit has moved into the garden and is quite successfully patrolling the feeders and driving the other birds away. What can I do? I know Im not allowed to take a pot shot at it even if I had the means or the inclination. Will it go away or are we stuck with it. The only birds to put up any resistance are the coal tits and long-tailed tits and they really play hide and seek. Any advice?

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  • 348. At 1:04pm on 13 Jan 2010, Redwingsiting wrote:

    I saw my first Redwing at a feeder in our very small suburban garden the other day - I was very excited but then on my way to work a couple of days later saw a large flock of them, well, 20+, working their way through a berry-filled hedge alongside the road. We've also had a pair of black caps appear in the garden, which again are newcomers for us. Are these new visitors here because of the unusual weather?

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  • 349. At 1:12pm on 13 Jan 2010, Christopher Hickman wrote:

    Thrilled to see a redwing in the garden for the first time scouring borders for worms etc. Keeps returning, presumably same bird. Even more thrilled to see a whole flock (17+) redwings in a Woolston car park this morning feeding on berries.

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  • 350. At 1:20pm on 13 Jan 2010, Kevin Lewis wrote:

    I live just outside Droitwich in Worcestershire. Generally we are seeing much more feeding activity this year. The highlight has to be a group of reed buntings. The most seen at one time is six with three of each sex. The males are beginning to look resplendent in their breeding plumage.

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  • 351. At 1:34pm on 13 Jan 2010, Marian Townsend wrote:

    Since our first snowfall last Tuesday we have had a bluetit roosting in a nestbox (which we have a camera in)from dusk till dawn. During the day it pops in and out occasionally doing a bit of "housework". Is this normal behaviour for a bluetit at this time of year?

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  • 352. At 2:05pm on 13 Jan 2010, motherhen wrote:

    I was so excited to find 3 Fieldfares in my back garden last Sunday and they have been here each day since. Mainly because I've been putting out cheap apples for them. I live in the centre of Cardiff where we've had a few inches of snow this last week. But my excitement was squashed when a chap on the radio said he'd had 10 in his garden! A little pick-me-up today though - I saw a Redwing!! I have scattered the seed around since the snow and have had up to 10 blackbirds all at once, 20+ chaffinches, 1 thrush, bluetits, Robin, and our 2 resident crows - also 19 woodpigeon at one time sat in the tree! I've seen the Sparrowhawk once but I don't think he got a meal this time!

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  • 353. At 2:07pm on 13 Jan 2010, LateNightSkies wrote:

    In relation to post 319. At 08:59am on 13 Jan 2010,

    Jai, I live on the outskirts of Stroud, how strange! We too have seen a fox looking for food and had a Blackcap scaring all the other birds away!

    With the blackcap.. if it gets territorial, try to spread any feeders you have out, so that it can't hog all of them, it will keep protecting 1 or 2 but will usually just leave any others, which gives the other birds a chance :)

    Anyway, with the fox, if its looking a bit scraggy and a bit ill, try putting some dog food and peanuts etc out for it at night? That is if you don't mind encouraging it. It might give it the perk it needs :)I'm going to put some out for mine tonight, hopefully get a nice long view in the process!

    Hope this helps :)

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  • 354. At 2:29pm on 13 Jan 2010, Rebecca Blackwell wrote:

    The snow has brought to my garden a Redwing and a rather terretorial Fieldfare who keeps scaring off all the blue/great/coal/longtail tits and Blackcap, it even gives the Robin a hard time. I have yet to see the Goldcrest that visited last year.

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  • 355. At 2:32pm on 13 Jan 2010, Frances wrote:

    Is it ok to put some food (dog food) out for the foxes?

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  • 356. At 2:37pm on 13 Jan 2010, Jessamy Kerr wrote:

    At the weekend we had a growing flock (up to 50) of redwings and fieldfares around our garden in Bishopston (a fairly densely populated residential area of Bristol)who stripped it of its red and orange pyracanthus berries (they preferred the red!). I also noticed that the redwings appeared to be eating snow, which reassured me as our bird water was frozen solid at the time, so I presumed they were getting some liquid.

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  • 357. At 2:40pm on 13 Jan 2010, Keith Oldroyd wrote:

    Sorry about being behind on date,just registered on this site, but would like to report we had 9 Fieldfares in a Hawthorn tree in our garden on the 5th Jan. We thought at first they were Thrushes but on checking the our bird book realised they were Fieldfares. Never seen them before,in our urban setting.
    Horbury, West Yorkshire.

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  • 358. At 2:58pm on 13 Jan 2010, nell59 wrote:

    We have had a great time for the past few days watching 3 reed buntings in our urban garden. They have been bobbing around in the snow under the seed feeders eating the niger seed that the gold finches and chaffinches drop. It took us ages to identify them as we live in the middle of stoke on trent and didnt think reed buntings lived around here. Hope they stick around for a while.

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  • 359. At 3:09pm on 13 Jan 2010, davidholt wrote:

    We have been watching a flock of 20 or more redwings and fieldfares in our garden at Benfleet.They arrived 3 days ago and have been feeding on the berries. We have not seen these birds since the last heavy snow some years ago. Where are they likely to have come from?

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  • 360. At 3:16pm on 13 Jan 2010, Rebecca Blackwell wrote:

    I hope the solitary Redwing and the very territorial Fieldfare find a flock to hang out with. I thought it a bit odd to see just one of each in my garden and wondered if they had been separated from thier flocks by the bad weather or weakness? Maybe when they've fuelled up on the apples I put out for them they will find a flock to join. Would they fly 4 miles from my garden in north Bristol to Bishopston and join the flock that Jessamy Kerr commented on?

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  • 361. At 3:18pm on 13 Jan 2010, Tina P wrote:

    A few days ago a small flock of birds appeared in the tree at the bottom of my garden. My partner said they were the same as one he'd seen a few days previous in another area of Bristol. Out came the binoculars and after looking on the internet they look like Fieldfare. They are very pretty and I have never seen them before. Can you tell me if they normally come to our area or is this a rare thing??

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  • 362. At 3:19pm on 13 Jan 2010, Johnny T wrote:

    We've had a a pair of Redwings and a Fieldfare in our Garden in the last week, we only have a flat in Worthing with a tiny patio garden, so this is very exciting for us! We've been putting out chopped apple and pear as well as the usual nuts, seeds and millworms. The Fieldfare has been giving the Blackbirds and thrushes a bit attitude, nothing they can't handle though.

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  • 363. At 3:39pm on 13 Jan 2010, Elaine K wrote:

    I put food out for the wildlife in my garden, particularly for birds and hedgehogs.
    Since just before Xmas, most nights, even with the snow and ice, a hedgehog has been out in my garden looking for food. I always put food and water out, as I know that on mild nights hedgehogs sometimes come out of hibernation hungry and thirsty.
    So far this hedgehog has not hibernated. He looks quite small, under 1 lb and so might not make even if he did. I think he lives in my garden somewhere, not far from the food source. As I’m not sure what to put out for the best I put out a mixture of cat food, cat biscuits, dried fruit, mealworms and bird cake. I put the food and some water in a dish under a small plastic underbed box (Wilco’s) with a hole made in one end to allow the hedgehog to go in and out and if the food is placed down the far end from the entrance and weighted, it is not easy for cats and foxes to access the food. I also put water where it is least likely to freeze and check it as late as I can.
    Below is my birdcake recipe – simple and much loved by birds
    12 oz hot water
    Up to 1½ lb dried fruit
    8 oz lard
    4 oz sugar
    1½ lb S/R flour
    1 egg to bind (or not and the cake will be crumbly)
    Put water, lard, dried fruit, sugar in a pan, bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes to plump up. Mix in flour and add more hot water if necessary. When well mixed add egg and mix in, Put in cake tin, place in pre-heated oven 150 º Centigrade for 1 hr or so until cooked through. Crumble on bird table. Will keep well if placed in a cake tin or suchlike.
    If putting out for birds, some of the dried fruit can be substituted by bird seed. You don’t need to be too precious about the quantities – the birds don’t care if it sinks!

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  • 364. At 3:40pm on 13 Jan 2010, angiebobbins wrote:

    Snow watch - what a great idea! I moved house recently and have been putting feed out for birds hoping to attract them. It had been fairly slow progress - a few blue tits but nothing else. That was until last Wednesday when we had quite heavy snow in Bristol. Since then we've had blackbirds (male & female), blue tits, great tits, wood pigeons, pied wagtails & what looks like a dunnock but that's a very amateur guess. Today we've had a black cap in and out the tree all day too.

    Just lovely to watch them.

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  • 365. At 4:05pm on 13 Jan 2010, grampy1 wrote:

    Loking forward to Snow Watch tonight ! I've noticed a comment about water freezing quickly when put out for birds-we add a teaspoonful of glycerine to ours for the bird bath -water remains ice-free and ,so we understand,quite harmless for the birds. Weather is very cold and we are concerned for the birds obviously but what a bonus to have so many different little visitorsto our garden

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  • 366. At 4:10pm on 13 Jan 2010, Conan Mc Donnell wrote:

    hi snow watch team..! I live in Ireland just outside Limerick city in a suburban area which backs on to the river Shannon. In five years in my house this is the first time i've had both red wings and a bossy fieldfare visit my garden, feasting on apple slices. The field fare had some problems with the resident blackbird but after a bitter fight the fieldfare won and is marching around all day proud as you like. I managed to get a photo of the action which i will put on flikr.
    Last week I noticed the house sparrows collecting feathers and other nesting material which I thought was a bit early. Is this just good housekeeping?
    I've also had gold, green and upto 15 chaffinches in my small garden along with occasional visits from reed buntings and meadow pipits.

    On a sad note i've seen a dead blackbird frozen and encased on the river ice. Also while walking in local woodland i found another blackbird alive but unable to move. i tried giving him water and seed but he died a short time after.

    However, the most unusual thing i saw was a birds egg on the side of a path near the river. it was almost fully entact, quite large (as big a small hens eggg, blue-green with no mottling or spots. it was under a hawthorn with heavey ivy growth. i can't understand why birds would be brooding at this time......?

    its a shame i will miss the show tonight and in ireland we can't access the bbc i-player. hopefully there will be a repeat....

    Cheers from Ireland!

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  • 367. At 4:11pm on 13 Jan 2010, Jacqueline Green wrote:

    When did Robins and Starlings learn to hang on to bird feeders? I have never seen them do this before. It seems as if some Robins are happy to stay on the ground and others like being trapeze artists!

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  • 368. At 4:22pm on 13 Jan 2010, Margaret wrote:

    There is a small sparrow sized bird which is a dull grey with brownish wings and a distinctive black cap feeding from my fat feeder. I have never seen one before and on looking it up it appears to be a black cap but I am in North Wales!

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  • 369. At 4:25pm on 13 Jan 2010, lesley Noble wrote:


    we live in `Cullercoats, Tyne & Wear, which is right on the coast and we have pictures of a WOODCOCK sheltering in our garden.............................

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  • 370. At 4:26pm on 13 Jan 2010, Marion rayner wrote:

    Just been watching 2 magpies diving and rolling into the snow on the roof of a house on the other side of the road. They push their beaks into several inches of snow and then roll their bodies through as well so that their tail feathers stick up at odd angles. Perhaps they are are 'snow bathing' in the absence of unfrozen water or are they just having fun!

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  • 371. At 4:27pm on 13 Jan 2010, Kathy wrote:

    I am relatively new at feeding the birds (and they are costing me a fortune). I have a feeder and a fat ball holder hanging in a large bush and I also scatter food on the ground which the birds can still see despite the snow. I have noticed to my surprise that the blackbirds have been hogging the feeder. They sit on the branches and lean in to eat the food. The small birds have to wait their turn. I thought blackbirds were only ground eating birds.

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  • 372. At 4:28pm on 13 Jan 2010, Jennifer Tuddenham wrote:

    4:20 pm on 13th Jan 2010 jennytud:

    Have spent the last two hours watching a flock of between 30 and 35 Redwings stripping the cotoneaster bush 10 feet from our back door in Tilehurst near Reading. They haven't left many berries for our usual blackbird visitor! Many other birds feeding on the seeds, bread and christmas cake crumbs further up the garden(wagtails, robins, pigeons, bluetits, chaffinch and dunnocks, mistle and song thrushes to name a few). We have seen redwings and fieldfares in the field opposite our house in previous years but never in the garden before.

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  • 373. At 4:31pm on 13 Jan 2010, Marion rayner wrote:

    We have put the remainder of our Bramley apple crop out on the lawn over the last week and all the apples have been eaten and hollowed out to their skins by Redwings, Fieldfare,and Blackbirds. Normally it is just Blackbirds that benefit from a share of the fruit- it is some years since we have been visited by Redwings and Fieldfares. However we notice how competive the Blackbirds become when the other types of Thrush are around- they try to chase off the Redwinds in particular.

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  • 374. At 4:31pm on 13 Jan 2010, Gillvall wrote:

    I live in Sheffield and since the snow at Christmas time we have been visited by around ten redwings every day. They particularly like to eat the Pyracantha berries on the front of the house and anything else they can find in the garden. They always stick together and get quite daring as they look into our window when feeding!
    I have never seen so many before. We thought they were fieldfares at first as they are very similar. Lovely birds!

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  • 375. At 4:38pm on 13 Jan 2010, Marigold wrote:

    The snow prevents us from leaving home. We have been feeding large numbers of birds but have no more food and orders to suppliers have not been arriving. And we cannot get out to buy more. What suggestions do you have for feeding them, using ordinary foodstuffs? The birds are mostly of the tit family, many blackbirds, robins, finches, a few woodpeckers, the crow family, but include a single redwing.

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  • 376. At 5:21pm on 13 Jan 2010, Glenda White wrote:

    Just read through ALL the blogs. It is now night and I can hear the tawny owls calling.

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  • 377. At 5:26pm on 13 Jan 2010, Rachel Clements wrote:

    Feeding the birds during this severe weather is a great excuse to stay home and not go to work!
    I'm doing a daily check to make sure my regulars have survived the night.
    Since Christmas I have a Pied Wagtail bobbing her way round the garden every day.
    On Monday I had the amazing sight of about 50 Fieldfares in the garden, come from the fields just west of Nailsea - eating the apples and raisins I put out for the Blackbirds. The Blackbirds have been chasing them off and there's been lots of fanned tails from the Fieldfares.
    My top feeding tips:
    Melt some lard, mix in seeds and grains and then fill a mould or coconut shell for a cheap and nutritious feed for blue tits.
    Starlings love grated cheese!
    Looking forward to tonight's Snow Watch.

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  • 378. At 5:38pm on 13 Jan 2010, Jenny Wyatt wrote:

    A few days ago a pair of fieldfare appeared in a tree in our next door neighbour's garden. I looked out of the window the following morning to see that the tree had become home to an entire flock of the birds which then proceeded to strip the tree of its berries, starting from the top and working downwards. After the last few berries were eaten, they resorted to picking from the remains that had fallen into the snow on the ground. They have now gone although one very lonely looking fieldfare sat in the snow in our garden this afternoon for a some considerable time before disappearing.

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  • 379. At 5:51pm on 13 Jan 2010, Vicky Hunt wrote:

    I just got back from work and on my way home I saw for only the second time in my life a Kingfisher - but it was landing on a branch above a small brook beside the main road running through the village of Steventon in Oxfordshire. Im sure its because of the weather, but I thought these birds were very shy. I was very surprised to see it - hope it manages to find some food.

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  • 380. At 6:08pm on 13 Jan 2010, Sam Dinista wrote:

    Seen what I assume are the same 12 redwings in the same tree everyday. It is right next to a very berried cotoneaster.
    First song thrush of the winter in our garden today.
    A single fieldfare in the trees in our neighbours garden.
    I saw a green woodpecker flying from garden to garden across a main road in Brighton.Never seen a green woodpecker in a suburban area before.

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  • 381. At 6:20pm on 13 Jan 2010, Pamela wrote:

    This year three birds have visited my garden, in Wiltshire, that I have not seen in my garden in the ten years I have been here. A Redwing, a Fieldfare and a Tree Creeper. Today a saw a small flock of Fieldfares flying over the garden. I feed the birds with peanuts and wild bird seed and do get quite a variety visiting the garden and the surrounding trees. Not all of them seem to be attracted to the food I put out. During this snowfall the garden seems to be alive with birds and squirels. I'm having to top up all the feeders every couple of days. The water is a problem as no sooner do I put it out than it freezes! Does anyone have a solution to this problem?

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  • 382. At 6:35pm on 13 Jan 2010, Carroll Bolden wrote:

    Since the start of the really cold spell a female blue tit has been coming in through the bathroom window and roosting overnight on one of the folds high up in the blind. On 2 occassions we have accidentally disturbed her and she has flown around the bathroom only to settle on the shower rail for the night before leaving through the window in the morning. She has returned every late afternoon though both the cold spell just before xmas and this most recent spell. We were wondering if she is the same bird that uses our camera box, which was taken down for cleaning, and that she got her own back by moving in!! Needless to say the window has to stay open` and we have our showers when she is not home!! Fascinating!!

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  • 383. At 6:41pm on 13 Jan 2010, Amanda Gordon wrote:

    A mistle thrush has been demonstrating extraordinary behaviour in my parents garden. About 2 weeks before christmas it started to guard the berries on the holly tree from other birds and humans. It has been seen chasing off redwings and anything else that gets near. It also becomes very noisy when humans approach. As a result that tree still has a good crop of berries, and everything else in the area has been stripped. Did it really know this weather was coming?

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  • 384. At 6:46pm on 13 Jan 2010, tracey proudman wrote:

    During the first lot of snow (7/1/10) I was sat looking out of my kitchen window and noticed birds everywhere! They were sat on all the neighbouring houses roofs and in several trees. I looked them up on the internet, thinking they were thrush, but thinking something about them didn't look like a thrush. I found out they were fieldfare. What i hadn't noticed till later is they had totally stripped my neighbours large tree of red berries, in a matter of a few hours!

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  • 385. At 6:49pm on 13 Jan 2010, kleowsg wrote:

    In our small garden in south Cheshire we normally have mostly sparrows and starlings, with some blackbirds, a robins and a very occasional bluetit - nothing exciting. This winter we've had a hedgehog turn up by our front door, a bullfinch, a whole flock of long-tailed tits and a fieldfare so far. Some of the local gulls have been getting closer to landing too and we even saw a kestrel perched on the neighbour's roof just before Christmas. Very peculiar.

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  • 386. At 6:49pm on 13 Jan 2010, Kevj wrote:

    You may already be aware of this ( Our local BBC News "East Midlands Today" has covered it again this evening) But there are 5 (Five) Bitterns' currently staying at Attenborough Nature Reserve in Nottinghamshire. I'm hoping to pop over to have a look if I can get out.

    Kevj Nottingham

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  • 387. At 6:53pm on 13 Jan 2010, kelvin wrote:

    A question for all the team,up untill we had the snow i had blue tits,greattits,gold finches,green finches,bullfinch,dunnocks,now all i get is the odd blackbird,robin.
    Where have all my birds gone,i have all the seeds feeders,mealworms every thing they would need,there no cats or squirrels.
    Have they found a better feed station or have they perished in the cold

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  • 388. At 6:54pm on 13 Jan 2010, corran wrote:

    since the snow only seen sparrows in the garden
    are they chasing the other birds off?

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  • 389. At 7:00pm on 13 Jan 2010, bellringers wrote:

    Mad Thrush.

    Since the start of the snow we have started to get a Thrush in our garden. It is defending its territory like it is defending its young. If any larger birds like the Starlings Doves & pigeons she chases them off from the birdtable, the smaller birds stand a better chance on their feeders but some are staying away. Is this normal behaviour for the Thrush?

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  • 390. At 7:06pm on 13 Jan 2010, bellringers wrote:


    We have two pairs and they have been feeding in our front garden on our evening primrose stems taking the seeds they visit every day and are a delight. They donot go near our back garden they probably donot like Mad Thrush

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  • 391. At 7:07pm on 13 Jan 2010, Brian Clamp wrote:

    Don't have pics from this year yet but have some good ones from last year if you want them. We live close to sheffield City Centre but have trees arround us.Our regular wildlife consists of Squirrels,dunnocks,Sparrows, Robin,Wren, Magpie,Blackbird,and Thrush, all of which are currently visitng our garden. The unusual visitor is a BULLFINCH. He was too quick for me to get a picture.Is this an unusual bird for this time of the year?

    Best wishes.

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  • 392. At 7:08pm on 13 Jan 2010, louisa33 wrote:

    I spotted a fieldfare thrush in the garden today somerset

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  • 393. At 7:12pm on 13 Jan 2010, Dennis wrote:

    Today found motionless lizard on footpath in deep snow in our Wiltshire garden. At first thought it was dead but on gently touching it moved its legs slightly. Not being sure what to do, I placed the lizard in green undergrowth and put some foliage over to retain some warmth.
    Did I do the right thing. I considered bringing it into the house or an outbuilding but decided the heat shock might be too much.
    Any comments much appreciated.

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  • 394. At 7:22pm on 13 Jan 2010, Eileen wrote:

    I put out peanut and fat feeders today but the only bird visitor was a thrush. What can I put out for it?

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  • 395. At 7:22pm on 13 Jan 2010, Jenny C wrote:

    I have been putting out food for the birds as usual and was pleased to have a flock of Fieldfares and Redwings visit.
    However one Fieldfare has stayed and taken over the garden.
    He spends most of the day perched in a tree overlooking the bird table and ground station and chases off any blackbirds and thrushes that try to feed.
    Very entertaining at first but now becoming frustrating -for me as well as the other birds!

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  • 396. At 7:23pm on 13 Jan 2010, jasonleonard wrote:

    We live in Teddington, Middlesex, 5 minutes from Bushy Park. Our property has 4 pyrocantha hedges which, from the end of December, have been stripped of berries by 3-12 redwings. We've not seen redwings here before and would like to help them further, but they don't seem keen on soaked raisins. Mindful of the cat problem in our densely populated suburban area and redwings' reluctance to feed from the ground, is there anything else we can do?
    We have a small pond with a waterfall and have managed to get the water running almost every day so that our resident sparrows can bathe and drink.
    For the first time, yesterday, a redwing ventured into one of the waterfall dishes and chased off two sparrows. However, when it then flew up to a nearby rosebush it was hotly pursued by one of the sparrows, who kept biting the redwing's tail until it flew away!

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  • 397. At 7:29pm on 13 Jan 2010, africaanimalseagle wrote:

    Hey there!
    I would like to thank the team once again...Its beeen great! I just wondered if anyone else had been seeing sightings of migratory birds that still are living in britain....Because here in Spain a pair of Short- Eagles havent migrated at all, and niether have the swifts...It been so warm, (not to rub it in!) and I think everyone has said that they moved further inland to Granada where its still warm. Its definately to do with global warming - even though it certainly doesnt seem like it!

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  • 398. At 7:41pm on 13 Jan 2010, Irene Rothwell wrote:

    On Sunday 10th I had a "flock" of about 15 birds in my back garden in Streatham SW London - that I have never seen before. I Identified them as Fieldfares and they were taking berries from a bush next door.

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  • 399. At 7:42pm on 13 Jan 2010, africaanimalseagle wrote:

    I would just like to say that I saw the same thing as you! Its was the 29th of December and more than a thousand gulls flew inland from the sea, and flew in a group for about 5 mins...they came back and forth from the coast...It was so amazing but weird as you said!This is in Spain but still!

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  • 400. At 7:47pm on 13 Jan 2010, Melanie Musman wrote:

    Hi - We live in South Yorkshire and have been feeding the birds for many years and this year we have noticed the unsual behaviour of a new birdtable user. We have had quite a few mistle thrushes or stormcocks feeding on our rowans since the autumn, but they had never visited the birdtable. However after Christmas I decided to put some rowan berries that had decorated our table out for the birds. Immediately 2 stormcocks were there. At first we were delighted to see them but then they began terrorising all the other birds. They sit on a neighbouring tree and dive at any bird that sets wing and claw on the table or our hanging feeders. They swoop like our resident sparrowhawk but never seem to feed themselves - just prevent any other bird from grabbing more than a very hurried morsel. Is this usual behaviour ? As much as we like these attractive birds we would like to see all the other species as well. Is their terratorial aggressiveness sparked by the unusual weather ?

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  • 401. At 7:50pm on 13 Jan 2010, Johnofmalton wrote:

    Malton North Yorkshire; a few days ago with six inches of snow on the ground a sparrow near our bird table was plucking the Pampas Grass Plume and flying off to the eaves of a cottage. Does anyone know whether he was nest building or just insulating his loft?

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  • 402. At 7:51pm on 13 Jan 2010, Johnofmalton wrote:

    Malton North Yorkshire; A fieldfare was seen in next door's apple tree.

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  • 403. At 7:55pm on 13 Jan 2010, morecambe wrote:

    We live in Gloucestershire, a small garden but we spent a lot of time on Sunday and Monday watching Redwings taking the last of the pyracanthus berries. The Blackbird kept chasing them away but then the Redwings increased in number and he was defeated. Then a Fieldfare appeared. We have also had Blackcaps, but our two pairs of Goldfinch seem to have disappeared.
    Wonderful sights

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  • 404. At 8:17pm on 13 Jan 2010, joancopley wrote:

    I feed the Birds daily with feeders fat balls and nuts. Everyday i fry up crumbled bread in lard and put this out as well with grated cheese and sultanas soaked overnight in water. Am I wrong to be frying up the bread.I dont want to harm the birds and thought I was helping by providing fat but I saw our good friend Bill Oddie on TV today saying not to give birds bread. I am now confused. please advise.

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  • 405. At 8:23pm on 13 Jan 2010, Linda Field wrote:

    Hi Snowwatch,we live in West Sussex and we have had loads of Fieldfares, Red wings a mistle thrush and a song thrush which we have never seen in our garden before. Is this because the bad weather has forced them down south? It's been fantastic, along with the starlings they have eaten their way through 5kg of RSPB high energy nibbles and the Fieldfares have eaten 5 apples since Saturday. It has been a joy to watch such a great time waster, we are now onto fat balls, uncooked pastry and suet. The Robin is there too along with blue tits and Jenny Wren. It's been fab!!

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  • 406. At 8:24pm on 13 Jan 2010, Alannah wrote:

    Dont worry about the birds in Essex; since our cat is nearly 18 its safe to feed them plenty of seeds! We're getting bluetits, male and female great tits, wood pigeons, a wren, black birds, robins and chaffinchs =] Hearing alot of singing in the bushes lately! lol

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  • 407. At 8:28pm on 13 Jan 2010, Vanessa Crossley wrote:

    Hi Since we have had the snow something really strange has been happening to the seeds in the bird feeder that we have. We don't see any birds on it during the day but overnight the seed goes done alot. I would love to know what is eating it. Any ideas?

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  • 408. At 8:29pm on 13 Jan 2010, tina cowlishaw wrote:

    whilst on a winter walk along the local canal,i came across a mixed flock of birds.they were in the bushes but were making a lot of noise,as i got closer to my amazment a buzzard came out of the bushes and flew a few feet in front of me before flying off being chased by some cheecky magpies.

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  • 409. At 8:29pm on 13 Jan 2010, lyn harding wrote:

    Just a record for my garden - 41 redwing in one tree!
    Orpington, Kent

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  • 410. At 8:29pm on 13 Jan 2010, Sue Furneaux wrote:

    Help! I have put out peanuts in a bag, fat balls in a wire container and half a coconut filled with fat and seeds, also fresh water, and not a bird has gone near it! It has been there for 4 days now. To add insult to injury, the birds are flocking to my neighbour's nuts! Any ideas, please?

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  • 411. At 8:29pm on 13 Jan 2010, Sandra Litchfield wrote:

    I have had a Mistle Thrush visiting the garden for the past fews days but today it seems to have injured one of its legs. It can fly but is struggling to feed as it cannot balance properly. Can I do anything to help it?

    Sandra Litchfield

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  • 412. At 8:29pm on 13 Jan 2010, Alex webster wrote:

    dear all
    we run a landscape company and we are currently working at Slapton Ley Field centre, last Friday we were digging out the levels on the new car park area when a Buzzard landed on the bucket of the digger, we can only asume he was looking for worms!!
    it just goes to show how desperate for food he must have been.

    Thank you for your fine wild life programms

    Alex Webster

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  • 413. At 8:30pm on 13 Jan 2010, Kathy Contaris wrote:

    I live on the edge of a small town in Somerset and on Saturday noticed a male Black Cap coming to my bird feeders, joined two days later by a female and a second male. Being on the edge of the Somerset levels, they and other small birds are having to contend with the hordes of starlings the food also attracts, but it's lovely to see them. Have also seen several red wings and lots of field fares coming into gardens near here.

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  • 414. At 8:31pm on 13 Jan 2010, Sunshinenshowers wrote:

    Seeing lots more birds in the garden and everywhere running out of bird feed however at my parents farm their cat has been helping to feed the birds!
    The cat ignores the birds but is catching all the mice out of the animal feed sheds. It tends to bring the mice into the garden, play with them and then lets them go and they run off but twice on Christmas day we witnessed the mouse scurrying off, stopping and taking a breathe and then a magpie coming down from a tree and gobbling up the mouse, then flying off. Sorry we don't have a video camera.

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  • 415. At 8:32pm on 13 Jan 2010, Diana Palmer wrote:

    I was thrilled to see between 15-20 Redwings in my garden on Saturday morning. They stripped my two Rowan trees - but they are welcome! Some reappeared yesterday afternoon and again this morning. I have put a variety of food down but not sure what they will have other than berries. It is a privilege to see them and I have managed to get some photos.

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  • 416. At 8:33pm on 13 Jan 2010, Deb wrote:

    Had a fieldfare in the garden since Friday last week - fantastic.
    On Saturday I saw a grey wagtail on the roof - don't live anywhere near fast flowing water - or that near any water for that matter.
    Loving this weather!

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  • 417. At 8:33pm on 13 Jan 2010, David Wilkie wrote:

    I am up in Clydebank, just on the West side of Glasgow and for the past few weeks theres been a Fieldfare in the garden opposite, feeding off apples from an apple tree, he seems to love them.

    Another bird I have only saw once, a Redwing came through my garden too about a week ago, but only on one occassion.

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  • 418. At 8:34pm on 13 Jan 2010, Judth Charmer wrote:

    I have seen red deer eating road kill in the Highlands (snow hare) is this normal?


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  • 419. At 8:34pm on 13 Jan 2010, Lynne Caulfield wrote:

    I have seen 3 Red Kites on the edge of my Estate in Leeds. LS9 6RJ.

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  • 420. At 8:34pm on 13 Jan 2010, Dominic wrote:

    For the first time, we have recently found Fieldfare and Redwings coming into our garden.
    They have been feeding on a bush which has red berries in our next door neighbours garden.
    The Fieldfares have been chasing Blackbirds from the bush but are happy to have the Redwings in the same bush.
    I wonder why?

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  • 421. At 8:34pm on 13 Jan 2010, delythpe wrote:

    Not one- but two red kites over my garden in Glynneath.What do I put on the bird table?

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  • 422. At 8:35pm on 13 Jan 2010, Carol wrote:

    Hi, today we were luck enough to see a bittern land in the reeds on the marsh outside our house in Wernfrwwd, Gower!! Fantastic!!

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  • 423. At 8:37pm on 13 Jan 2010, Emma Morse wrote:

    I live in mid devon and were suprised to see rooks or corows bring down and kill a seagul during the cold snap. We live in a semi rural area and have never seen this before.

    Also am suprised that you have not mentioned the upsurge in Snowmen clearly blown off course from their migratory route to iceland?

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  • 424. At 8:37pm on 13 Jan 2010, Graham S wrote:

    we have noticed that moles are very active under the snow covered fields in Yorkshire, and seem to digging their tunnels only just under the surface of the ground, or even just in the lowest layer of snow. Is this because they use some kind of depth location system which has been confused by the depth of the snow? Normally their tunnels are not so easy to trace, but being just under the surface are easy to follow and just as easily collapse when any weight is on the ground surface.
    Graham , Nr Skipton, North Yorkshire

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  • 425. At 8:37pm on 13 Jan 2010, Denny71 wrote:

    I live in Crook, Co Durham and feed the wild birds every day. Since the snow started we have had Redwing, Field Fare and a Nuthatch as well as our usual finches, tits, starlings and resident pair of Black Birds and very cheeky Robin who sits on the top step looking through the glass in the door of the utility room where the food is kept.

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  • 426. At 8:37pm on 13 Jan 2010, Alan Johnson wrote:

    Hi All
    Three weeks+ into this snowy weather in North Yorkshire you just can't feed the birds and wildlife enough lets hope it subsides soon.

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  • 427. At 8:37pm on 13 Jan 2010, simon hithersay wrote:

    hi guys....have to tell you that yesterday, whilst delivering mail, i saw a pheasant scurrying around in a quiet lane in wimbledon. apparently it turned up a week or so a go!

    cheers si

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  • 428. At 8:37pm on 13 Jan 2010, patrick smith wrote:

    we were out walking along the local canal at the weekend which is frozen solid & covered with a thin layer of snow. we came across an area covered in rabbit tracks. They were definately rabbit as there were droppings around the area they'd been using to gain access to the ice.

    my question is; why would rabbits venture out onto a frozen canal?

    we've also seen our resident woodpecker on the garden feeders in the last few weeks along with the usual selection. Magpies have also been hanging around & i'm worried they're more interested in picking off a small bird than the feed on offer

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  • 429. At 8:38pm on 13 Jan 2010, Katie Williams wrote:

    I live in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire and on Sunday 10 January I saw a Bullfinch in my garden for the first time.

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  • 430. At 8:40pm on 13 Jan 2010, Jacqui Goring wrote:

    Hi everyone! Great to have you on again. Can you tell me why our garden birds do not eat the fat balls we put out. They just leave them to rot. They also didn't eat the sunflower of peanuts our friends gave us for a moving in pressie. After 1 yr we cut it down and they had all gone rotten! In our old house they would only last a few minutes and they were gone!Also just wanted to tell you that we have had around 30 of what we were told are Fieldfare. All in one go! i've never seen anything like it.

    Look forward to Springwatch


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  • 431. At 8:40pm on 13 Jan 2010, buzztone wrote:

    Really enjoying Snow Watch, what a great idea. Can anyone help with how to stop our bird bath from freezing over? It isn't very deep and I have tried with a tennis ball and golf ball, but both are too heavy and touch the bottom and so the water freezes. Please can someone suggest something as we have loads of birds coming into the garden?

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  • 432. At 8:41pm on 13 Jan 2010, black bel wrote:

    I have been feeding the Birds this winter but have found to my surprise that I have a rat pinching the food, because of the snow the rat has left footprints but they are clever creatures because they have been going behing my plant pots to avoid going in the snow.

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  • 433. At 8:41pm on 13 Jan 2010, John Drake wrote:

    I have put out seed, nuts, maize and budgie seed plus water, and I cant seem to persuade the birds to feed very hard, Im up in Cumbria and its frozen hard for weeks, whats going on? Blue tits not even tempted by nuts! Bit sad ...

    Drakey , Cumbria

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  • 434. At 8:42pm on 13 Jan 2010, kevin wrote:

    I like to make nutmilk with my blender.It is easy to do and the birds benefit from the paste that is left.Also i have seen up to 30 redwing feeding on berries from pyracantha hedging in my workplace in brislington.

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  • 435. At 8:42pm on 13 Jan 2010, Kerry wrote:

    I have been feeding the birds for several years, but this year I have been amazed to see fieldfare & redwing (even though redwings have been seen locally for several winters in local fields) feeding in the garden. This morning I had a small flock of bullfinch 8-9 of them. several fieldfare are hanging about the gardens. I have been having 40+ birds feeding in my garden and I am putting out a large variety of foods from oats, seeds, cheese, suet balls, mixed ground nuts and fruit. I feed the birds most of the year and have planted the garden up to be bird friendly and have a pond (which is frozen but fresh water is put out 3 times a day so it's never frozen). I get a wide variety of birds all year round but never had fieldfare or redwing before. I am a bit concerned for a poor heron that seems to be searching local gardens for food.

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  • 436. At 8:42pm on 13 Jan 2010, Caroline Marlow wrote:

    A covering of snow certainly does reveal visitors to your garden. Our son is trying to keep chickens in central Bristol, not only are there plentiful fox tracks through his garden, they are even on top of his little chicken house - poor Mrs Hen!

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  • 437. At 8:42pm on 13 Jan 2010, Tim Todd wrote:

    Like many, we have many redwing visitors and a few fieldfare all feeding on the additional food that we have put out.
    What has been noticeable is how much of what seems to be fighting is going on.The real bully is one of the fieldfares who has been spending more time chasing everything off rather than feeding. There has been plenty of food put out to go around but the fieldfare especially doesn't want to share.
    This seems to be a lot of energy being expended on protecting the food stores!

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  • 438. At 8:42pm on 13 Jan 2010, Wendy wrote:

    Before we had the snow, about 3 weeks before Christmas, I put some fat balls in a feeder and sited it about 5 foot from my living room window. I had lots of blue tits/coal tits/sparrows and robins, then I had a Wheatear. He has been every day since and I have some great photos of him feeding. Yesterday I had a real surprise of a Woodpecker hanging on to the feeder, hacking away as if it was hollowing out a tree. All this activity on my front lawn in Biddulph Moor, Staffordshire!

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  • 439. At 8:43pm on 13 Jan 2010, Kerry wrote:

    I am in the middle of stoke on trent

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  • 440. At 8:43pm on 13 Jan 2010, The Clarke Family wrote:

    Our friends emailed us a photo of an unusual bird they'd seen in their garden. It was a Woodcock. In suburban Liverpool!

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  • 441. At 8:43pm on 13 Jan 2010, steve amos wrote:

    I saw a wren in the garden last week on my cherry tree when the snow had covered the ground ,as I live in the Orkney Islands ,is this uncommon?

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  • 442. At 8:43pm on 13 Jan 2010, Alistair Evans wrote:

    When the snow came we spent just an hour looking out into our garden and we saw a Green Woodpecker, a Greater Spotted, Red Wings (loads), Field Fares, Thrushes, Blue / Great / Marsh (first time) Tits, Robins, Starlings, Pigeons and Blackbirds. Living right on the South Coast in Sussex we very rarely do have snow, but have enjoyed this time.

    Al & Jan

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  • 443. At 8:44pm on 13 Jan 2010, Iris wrote:

    Watching the programme this evening and seeing the birds going into nest boxes for shelter, reinforces my belief that the poor birds are having their winter cover diminished by the farmers who absolutely masacre the hedgerows throughout the year to almost nothing. This activity diminishes their nesting cover and their protection from the severe winter weather. Does anybody else agree with me and why do the hedgerows have to be cut down and back so severely. Where it is a visibility reason, yes, but 99per cent of the time there seems to be no justification. Are the farmers trying to destroy our wildlife?

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  • 444. At 8:45pm on 13 Jan 2010, Justine Williams wrote:

    We live in Cuckfield West Sussex (Alledgedly called Cuckoofield many years ago and yes the Cuckoo is our village emblem!)
    We have had a pair of Lesser Red Poles feeding from Niger seed just outside our kitchen window for the past week. We've never seen these birds before, especially with the male who has a lovely red crown

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  • 445. At 8:45pm on 13 Jan 2010, Allison Hutchings wrote:

    Hi. I've just started feeding the birds in our garden with peanuts, seeds and fat balls. We have had various robins, blue tits, bull finches, blackbirds etc visiting. However, we now have a new resident a mistle thrush which now seems to sit like a century on our fence for hours on end seeing off anything which comes near. Is this normal or should I intervene in any way?

    Many thanks Alli

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  • 446. At 8:46pm on 13 Jan 2010, gogogoch wrote:

    Hi.Here in mid Pembrokeshire my mother-in-law had a Snipe, and Redwing in her garden.
    We have had a Sparrowhawk have a swoop at the birdfeeders.
    Bullfinch are also occasionally appearing,which have not been in the garden before.

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  • 447. At 8:46pm on 13 Jan 2010, Angela wrote:

    Last week I saw two beautiful white hares sitting by the side of the road near my house (on a snow drift) and then further along the road saw another three. I was later told that three hares were found dead. When I was younger, hares were quite rare in Shetland and it is so sad that such a fragile population are so vulnerable.
    Does anyone know why they frequent the road side so much? I know that sheep love to come onto the roads to eat the grit/salt, but not sure if hares do this.

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  • 448. At 8:47pm on 13 Jan 2010, Harriet wrote:

    Talking of redwings and fieldfares, we live in Cambridge and have recently noticed increasing numbers of these birds over the past weeks. At one time last week we counted 30 redwings in our rowan tree eating the berries! I'd never seen one before, so am very happy they like coming to our garden - even if they've made a right mess of the berries that have been dropped on the ground!

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  • 449. At 8:48pm on 13 Jan 2010, McKn1ght wrote:

    Just to say - we decided whole peanuts are too much of a struggle so whiz them for a few seconds in the blender.
    this give the birds a quicker food source - less energy waste cutting them up.

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  • 450. At 8:48pm on 13 Jan 2010, Andy wrote:

    Hi, i live in kingswinford near dudley, i always feed the birds, mostly get the same,tits,black birds,robins,wood pigeons,had half a dozen goldfinches last week but today my wife called me and said look at this one,so i went to the window and saw this bird that i didnt recognise,was very unusual to see when i am used to the regulars,then i put on snow watch tonight and i now know that it was a fiedfare as soon as i saw it on the show, our estate is surrounded by farmland only about a mile up the road,so it must explain why we have had this new visitor, brilliant.

    Andy kingswinford

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  • 451. At 8:49pm on 13 Jan 2010, sylvia wrote:

    We saw foxes mating in our back garden in Bighton at 2:30 this afternoon, Is it usual for this time of year? we hear them early mornings and late at night but its unusual to see them around here in daylight. How long is the gestation period of a fox?



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  • 452. At 8:49pm on 13 Jan 2010, j44neg wrote:

    We live in Watford and the Redwings arrive every year to eat the Holly berries just before Christmas. On Sunday I spotted a group of approx 8 Fieldfares in one of the Hollies, a sight I have never seen before here. It was a treat!!

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  • 453. At 8:49pm on 13 Jan 2010, judith harris wrote:

    Thank you snow watch. Since last Friday(8/1/10) I've had birds in my front garden that I've not seen before - they are very interested in the berries on my holly tree. After a lot of research, we'd more or less identified them as redwings - but the info we found said that there are only a few pairs in the UK - and, so far we've seen five birds at the same time. The programme showed another species that it could be but I missed the name. Please would you repeat it. Thank You

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  • 454. At 8:49pm on 13 Jan 2010, Kerry wrote:

    Vanessa Crossley - I have seen rats eating see at night from my feeder...I have disappearing food at night too off the ground though so I am on the look out for who is taking it so I can put food out that is better for them...I think it maybe a fox but not sure as my dogs have compressed all the snow so no tracks are being left

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  • 455. At 8:50pm on 13 Jan 2010, Alun wrote:

    Snow has brought down our barn owl box, luckily nothing in it. On a good note a single snipe and lapwing sharing the pond.

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  • 456. At 8:50pm on 13 Jan 2010, kingfisher wrote:

    Have any Southern Stoats turned white? Or does that take a longer time?

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  • 457. At 8:50pm on 13 Jan 2010, Charlotte wrote:

    I live in London in Tottenham, pretty much inner City and I have had a small flock of Redwings feeding in my tiny back garden on the Pyracantha berries..

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  • 458. At 8:50pm on 13 Jan 2010, lynne wrote:

    great to have snow watch on we live in the westmidlands and since saturday we have had a large bird in our garden he is all fluffed up when in the tree we thought it was a mistle thrush after much looking in our bird books but after watching your programe yes he is a fieldfare this is great for us only down side is he chases all my other birds away hope he will be ok as he is the only one

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  • 459. At 8:51pm on 13 Jan 2010, pdmac wrote:

    Lots of fieldfares in my garden this week-we live in a new house on a modern estate in Leamington Spa Warwickshire, about 5 years old. However I have planted a lot of trees and bushes including crab apple. This past week ( and last year too) lots of blackbirds feeding off both fallen apples and apples still on the tree. Last weekend we had a about 8 or 9 fieldfares, who took precedence and drove off others. Really fascinating.

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  • 460. At 8:52pm on 13 Jan 2010, Byron Stokes wrote:

    Things are not much better here in Norway. I live on an island in the South West of the country. It's not snowed here since the 19th Dec but everything has been frozen since then (-13deg).
    The saddest sight has been at least 10 woodcock who have frozen to death or have been predated by what I assume is mink. I managed to find a woodcock on the weekend who was in a very sorry state. Sadly not a happy outcome and I fear the worst for any remaining woodcock in the vicinity. A beautiful bird who is suffering as a result of the weather. The mink on the other hand is doing very well!

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  • 461. At 8:52pm on 13 Jan 2010, Emily Flynn wrote:

    Today we saw a Redwing Thrush for the very first time in our front garden in Caerphilly, theres lots of snow here, we've never seen one of these before! We are going to put some berries out for it tommorow morning. What are the best foods to feed birds in this weather?

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  • 462. At 8:52pm on 13 Jan 2010, Gavin Reeve wrote:

    re: woodcock - we had one fly into our window a couple of weeks ago, luckily unharmed and flew off after collecting its thoughts! We had to get the bird book out to identify it, lovely to see one.

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  • 463. At 8:53pm on 13 Jan 2010, mandygough wrote:

    13th jan when going out to work this morning seen an eagle going through a black bin bag for food,when a group of black birds attacked him he flew off and the other birds followed him in to the trees on the mountain above my home in ebbw vale gwent

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  • 464. At 8:54pm on 13 Jan 2010, graham haines wrote:

    see a red kite in ewyas harold herefordshire last friday.we are about 50 miles from rhayder wales.we have never seen one here befor.


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  • 465. At 8:57pm on 13 Jan 2010, Kyle Charles wrote:

    Hello Fellow Snow Watchers, I have had a lovely Yellow Wag tail in my Pond Waterfall for the last few months and he happily steals the koi food on the pond lovely looking bird

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  • 466. At 8:58pm on 13 Jan 2010, Barry Watts wrote:

    I currently have a great tit in my wife's welly in the kitchen. I was preparing dinner at 7 pm when it tapped on the window. When I opened the window instead of flying away it came in, explored the kitchen floor, located the wellies and hopped in. Thinking it would get stuck I tipped the boot over but it wasn't stuck and climbed back in after a short pause for further exploration. I suppose I just let it out in the morning?

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  • 467. At 8:58pm on 13 Jan 2010, bangomonk1 wrote:

    Hi i live in Oldham facing what used to be a school field,last night at 2am i saw 24 rabbits running around, Is it normal to see them at this time? we never see them in summer.also a fox strolled by without giving them a second glance.

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  • 468. At 8:59pm on 13 Jan 2010, kerry wrote:

    Was absolutely amazed to hear a cuckoo on the 7th Janurary at 12 noon in Broomfleet,East Yorkshire what on earth is going ?

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  • 469. At 8:59pm on 13 Jan 2010, Lauren Gibson wrote:

    I need your help..
    I had 2 Call ducks (Mallards) and during the start of the snow days they disappeard.. A couple of weeks on and they still havent returned.. I am worried.. I have a reasonably sized pond, duck houses and i fed them everyday. The garden is fenced in with no signs of a fox breaking in the snow or anything. However these ducks could fly and often flew to nearby neighbours and fields but always returned.
    Does anyone know where they may have gone?? Ducks have also disappeared from the Golf course..

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  • 470. At 9:00pm on 13 Jan 2010, Rob Brown wrote:

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  • 471. At 9:01pm on 13 Jan 2010, flissy7 wrote:

    We have had about 30 Redwings in our fruit trees here in our garden in Rayleigh, Essex, never seen them here before.

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  • 472. At 9:02pm on 13 Jan 2010, Jane Church wrote:


    We've kept the pond pump running through the freezing weather so the 2 pools of the "watercourse" that runs into it are available as fresh water for a Brlackbird family, lots of Sparrows, a Mistle Thrush and a Robin.


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  • 473. At 9:03pm on 13 Jan 2010, Xander wrote:

    Me and my girlfriend have Just seen a adult Deer (red in colour) In Keston, which is near the town of Bromley, I've lived in Bromley all my life (25 years)and this is the first time I have ever seen a wild Deer.

    Its amazing and wonderfully weird, to see Deer in the suburb town of Bromley,We hope to see more of them as we have seen and followed Deer tracks in the recent snow :)

    Thank you

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  • 474. At 9:04pm on 13 Jan 2010, maria wrote:

    This morning I saw a fieldfare chased by a rather large bird which I think was a Kestrel, they both landed on our tree outside the front of our house. The fieldfare did get away.
    Maria, Warmley, Bristol

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  • 475. At 9:05pm on 13 Jan 2010, Pauline Fanning wrote:

    We are very keen urban bird feeders providing a feast outside our kitchen window including fresh pineapple, fresh pomegranite, fats, mealworms, and you name the seed and we supply it! We thought we had chosen a safe place, between our house and next door, and have been rewarded with visits from all common garden birds, including goldfinches, chaffinches and an occasional redwing. Yesterday, just 4ft away from us, a sparrowhawk swooped in and took off with one of our precious goldfinches. We have only once before seen a sparrowhawk in our garden so this was doubly tragic yet nature at it's most exhilarating. Pauline and Geoff from Stockport, Cheshire

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  • 476. At 9:07pm on 13 Jan 2010, katherine wrote:

    because we have a dog we have been leaving bird scraps on the garden table. we have watched our local fox jump onto this table and eat the food with seemingly bo effort at all. foot prints in the snow showed us he was also scaling the garden fence to enter our garden

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  • 477. At 9:08pm on 13 Jan 2010, bangomonk1 wrote:

    As a cat owner that has had a bird in the past,i never feed the birds in my garden,i still like to do my bit for the wildlife though so i take my feeders to the local park or to the many trees near a local farm and hang them around there i also take food for the squirrels.

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  • 478. At 9:08pm on 13 Jan 2010, joanne morris wrote:

    i live in stone in staffordshire and have noticed this week quite a few redwings along with a number of the usual field fares. i have not seen this visitor in recent years and wondered what had made it stop here and where it may be going to. anyone have any ideas?

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  • 479. At 9:08pm on 13 Jan 2010, devsci wrote:

    a couple of days ago there was an AZURE TIT on our bird feeder (in Haslemere west sussex) - has anyone else seen one

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  • 480. At 9:09pm on 13 Jan 2010, Jackie wrote:

    Two days ago a buzzard flew over the roof and the roof of the houses opposite. This I have never seen before in this built up inner city area of Glasgow. I'm told it is a sign of a healthy bird population! I'm not sure about this and think maybe the buzzard came to feed on birds which have died in the sub zero night temperatures. I'm told blackbirds love apples, why is it in these hard conditions no blackbirds have touched the ones I've halved and put out for them on a very low wall? The pre-soaked sultanas have been a success with blackbirds, robins and sparrows.

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  • 481. At 9:10pm on 13 Jan 2010, PaigntonChris wrote:

    On Saturday morning while looking out of the kitchen window, which faces a road, I noticed a smallish bird, dunnock size, in the palm tree in my front garden. Fetching my binoculars I was presented with a bird that I wasn't familiar with and subsequent research suggests that it was a black redsart, which was my intial feeling anyway. Is this possible in South Devon?

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  • 482. At 9:11pm on 13 Jan 2010, a james wrote:

    We back onto a field and on Saturday we were visited by what we think were about 60 Canada geese. They landed on the field and stayed there for a couple of hours slowly shuffling their way down the field. It was a wonderful sight and something we havent experienced before. Is this normal for these birds to do this? Could it be because any water locally was frozen and they just needed a rest?

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  • 483. At 9:12pm on 13 Jan 2010, Chuffa wrote:

    The snow has now fallen from the branches of my hazel bushes & I've noticed they're covered in catkins! Spring is on its way....

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  • 484. At 9:13pm on 13 Jan 2010, Angela Yare wrote:

    I have been a bird watcher for years and was thrilled to see in my front garden Redwings and Fieldfares (didnt know what they were so had to look them up). Shouted for all the family to come and look as they may never see them again. Also took photos. I will put apples out tomorrow for them. Also lots of long tailed tits at the weekend and ?a woodcock. Also saw 2 male robins eating together! Is this unusual as they are territorial??

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  • 485. At 9:13pm on 13 Jan 2010, crissyb wrote:

    Thanks Kate, Chris and team for a great programme. Such a joy to see all the wild life. I have been feeding the birds and saw 2 field fares feeding yesterday as well as a variety of garden birds.
    We live in a village north east of Nottingham and we never see sparrows or starlings. Where have they all gone? Intensive farming I suspect.
    Roll on Springwatch!

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  • 486. At 9:14pm on 13 Jan 2010, GINGE wrote:

    A wagtail has been feding on my patio for the past few days in snowy Surrey. It is eating cheese, rice and breadcrumbs. I don't have a good enough camera to take a picture but I think it could be a yellow ( ? female) wagtail. It is very pretty and has subtle colours of yellow, white and browny grey. Never seen one like this before!

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  • 487. At 9:14pm on 13 Jan 2010, Kerry wrote:

    The fieldfare and redwings aren't bullying the other birds in my garden but I have a female blackbird who guards the garden most of the day. I have several bluetits roosting in my wall (where they nested in summer and raised 2 lots of young)
    so fare this week I have had, bluetits, great tits, usual house sparrows in large numbers, blackbird, mistle thrust (who got chased off by blackbird soon after arriving, song thrush, wren, robins who get chased off more othern than not, starlings, collard dove, wood pigeon, long tale tits, coal tits, marsh tit (I think or maybe it was a willow tit can't tell them apart personally), grey wagtail, pied wagtail, bull finch, magpies, redwings and fieldfares. No woodpeckers yet :(. Still worried about the heron though he searches the gardens around me daily.

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  • 488. At 9:15pm on 13 Jan 2010, Jackie Jay wrote:

    We did not know that Snowwatch was on tonight and wondered if there were any plans for the show to be repeated. Also are there any other programs in the near future.

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  • 489. At 9:20pm on 13 Jan 2010, Marion Danaher wrote:

    A woodcock flew into my front window midday today. It collected itself in the front garden and then flew off accross the road. Perhaps not unusual but very unusual for my area. I live in London, Islington, about one mile from Kings Cross. I was so excited that I send an email to the RSPB.

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  • 490. At 9:26pm on 13 Jan 2010, David Simmonds wrote:

    I quote my letter from the Times of today "I too have seen terrorism in the garden.In late November a mistle thrush arrived and took up residence in our well-stocked holly tree. The plentiful berries are usually stripped before Christmas, but this thrush kept all other birds away. It has seen off tits,blackbirds, jackdaws, magpies,large fat pigeons and small flocks of redwing, until last Sunday when the combined weight of eighty fieldfare and redwing overcame the upstart and we haven't seen him since. This flock took the thousands of berries from the tree in 24 hours!"

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  • 491. At 9:28pm on 13 Jan 2010, Caroline wrote:

    We also have had the pleasure of Redwings in our garden and have one who seems to have taken up residence. Please can you make people aware of their total lack of danger involved in garden settings.
    The blackbird, thrushes, songthrushes and robins have all tried to chase it away and it seems to have no concept of fear. Our cat has already got one and he is now sporting bell number 3 on his collar but I don't hold out much hope for the Redwing, he is too trusting.
    Will he eventually leave or is he perhaps looking for his mate?
    P.S. love the show

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  • 492. At 9:31pm on 13 Jan 2010, sandra thatcher wrote:

    Watched the programme this evening - fantastic! Thank you for confirming that the new visitor to my garden is a fieldfare! I had never seen one before but on checking through some books that was what I suspected it was. What an interesting character he/she is! It has gorged on some apples that were still clinging tenaciously to an old apple tree.

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  • 493. At 9:32pm on 13 Jan 2010, sue152 wrote:

    Re Snow Watch: My neighbour Kathy has a very large 'fir'(cant remember what)tree which has has 10 Gold Crests feeding on it. Bungay, Norfolk/Suffolk border. NR35

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  • 494. At 9:35pm on 13 Jan 2010, ann wrote:

    It was an unexpected treat to find tonight's unscheduled Autumnwatch. I have been concerned about the birds and their suffering - actually in the here and now.

    Chris was wrong about birds' feet not sticking to the iced tree branches though. In the big freeze of 1963, when we lived in a village (Steventon, Hants, my Mum and I would go outside every morning and collect up the bodies of many frozen woodpigeons. We would also take a bowl of warm water out to bathe and unstick the feet of about a dozen survivors from the trees, and bring them indoors. Sadly, we were always too late - the poor things always died as they thawed out.

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  • 495. At 9:38pm on 13 Jan 2010, ceejayk wrote:

    Loved snow watch .. brilliant !!
    My garden has been inundated with birds of all kinds, feeding them all is a joy .. the ground feeders love my mix of spagetti mixed with suet,mealworm crumble,sultanas, suet, sunflower seeds & crushed peanuts as well as keeping my feeders topped up. Blackbirds have really moved in and I have counted 20 at a time all queued up waiting for their breakfast, lunch & supper !! Even the shy thrushes come right up to the door for their share. It is great to be able to help them all through this bad weather.

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  • 496. At 9:43pm on 13 Jan 2010, Paul Sargeant wrote:

    My House backs on to Pickering Park in Kingston upon Hull. During the periods when snow is on the ground it is a magical time here. From my upstairs window I can see all the way down to the end of the park. My wife and I can sit for hours watching foxs walking across the frozen lake to the islands. It gives us great pleasure. We have even seen roe deer in this urban park. On Christmas eve it was horrifiying to watch members of Hull City Council shooting a fox that was on one of the islands which was surounded by ice. Why? During the hours of darkness it would be away! 20 mins ago we where watching 3 foxes in the park, one of which was making a very loud screeming noise! Is this part of mateing does any one know?
    Snow watch tonight was good, plenty of foxes. Dont come to Hull to film foxes you may be wasting your time!

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  • 497. At 9:49pm on 13 Jan 2010, camilla ross wrote:

    a fieldfare has taken up residence in my next door neighbours garden since 29 december. it has successfully chased off every other small bird in both my neighbours and my garden. it ignores bread biscuits etc but loves apples pears tomatoes and meal worms.watched male peregrine falcon devouring a blackbird under bush in garden.once finished it took to the air and was quickly mobbed by crows until out of view on 10 january mid afternoon. we still have snow on the ground 17 days since it started

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  • 498. At 9:50pm on 13 Jan 2010, ann wrote:

    Nooboo asks if it is unusual, for robins to use feeders. No:-

    I live in hilly North London which has been - and is - badly affected by snow and robins regularly use my seed feeder, competing with sparrows, green tits, blue tits and great tits - and a nuthatch. A great spotted woodpecker and starlings swing on the nut feeder pecking a peanuts - and the larger birds (crows, woodpigeons, magpies - and also blackbirds) pick up the food droppings on the ground below. I do notice that the sparrows, green tits and bluetits tend to take turns on the seed feeder in their own same species gangs! There is one amusing, aggressive greentit who shooes the others away (but they soon come back).

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  • 499. At 9:52pm on 13 Jan 2010, Robin Smith wrote:

    Remember there is always BBC I Player if you missed the show

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  • 500. At 9:54pm on 13 Jan 2010, Kevin wrote:

    Last year...Mild winter..Abundance of Waxwings...This year...Very harsh...No sightings as yet ? ?

    Springwatch Back May 24th..? ? ?...Most early broods have fledged by then...Spring watch should be back on air tomorrow ! !...In fact Springwatch should never go off-air !

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