Thousands of thrushes, mainly redwings and fieldfares (rødvingetrost og gråtrost) arrived back in this part of Norway over the last couple of weeks and local breeders are already established in their territories. Both species breed right up to the tree line where there’s still a lot of snow and will forage for food on agricultural land until the snow disappears, mainly on higher ground. However, there’s been significant snow falls higher up and the snow line has moved back into the lowlands as is common at this time of year. Many of the new arrivals are then pressed down and concentrated on a narrow strip of lower ground near the fjord where there is only a sprinkling of snow which will disappear again during the day. This happened today and a large flock of very talkative birds arrived in the garden and some, mainly, redwings can be heard singing at the start and then many of the fieldfares take to flight in the second segment…
Eurasian redwings (rødvingetrost) seem to becoming more common in winter here. I now have 7 records of single birds since 2015 (December to March) and today there were 4 together feeding briefly with fieldfares (gråtrost) on guelder rose (krossved) berries! Interestingly, 27th December seems to be the best day to see redwings here as I now have records in 2015, 2017 and 2021 on this day!
A small flock of fieldfares (gråtrost) turned up in the garden today after a small snowfall. They were feeding on a few remaining guelder rose / krossved (Viburnum opulus) berries. A single resident fieldfare defended the elderberries, but allowed a blackcap (munk) to share the crop.
With Covid a long way from being over, I’m wishing I was a bird! We probably won’t be visiting family in the UK this winter and this morning there were some 50 fieldfares (gråtrost) and a few redwings and blackbirds feeding on rowan berries in the garden and above I could witness thousands of thrushes passing the house towards west. On some autumn days thrushes will stream past all day in the same direction, maybe following the fjord. The weather chart shows perfect flying conditions with light north easterly winds between Norway and the UK, so I’m thinking these are bound where I can’t go…
3 mornings in a row new snow has greeted me, but it mostly melts again during the day. I’m feeling for people in the north where the arctic city of Tromsø still has over 1m depth of snow and in the hills around here where the snow is accumulating. On the plus side I can still harvest for dinner in the afternoon and there’s entertainment with the abnormal numbers of birds in the garden foraging as open patches start appearing every morning. There are still several meadow pipits (heipiplerke) and many fieldfares (gråtrost) some coming right up to the house. This morning bramblings (bjørkefink) also made an appearance.
The first two videos show waxwings eating apples opened up by fieldfares and blackbirds yesterday and also eating guelder rose (krossved) berries, so far not touching the elderberries (svarthyll).
Earlier in the day, the waxwings were hunting insects on birch trees and occasionally high into the air in pursuit of insects:
…and the morning after, they had discovered the yew berries!
…and on unharvested redcurrants (rips)….with a fieldfare (gråtrost) and brambling (bjørkefink) at the end of the video!
This year is a bumper year for rowans near the fjord, but poor a little inland due probably to frosts which didn’t affect us! Late frost at the time of fruit flowering iis very unusual where I am near the fjord (due to a combination of warmth from the fjord and the fact that there isn’t night at this time!). This has concentrated thrushes near the fjord where the food is!
- Blackbird on apples
2. Redwing and fieldfares on rowan
3. Fieldfare on rowan (this tree was more or less stripped of berries during the day)