Saturday, 9 January 2010

Those Fieldfare and their Apples

We seem to be getting a new layer of snow each night. It actually makes walking round the village easier for the early morning walk. It's only after many feet have compacted it that it gets a bit more difficult. In spite of the snow the birds continue to devour everything they can find.

The flock of Fieldfare has partly dispersed as they finish off the windfall apples but there were at least 20 in the old orchard yesterday. In fact first thing yesterday morning they were sat on the branches overhanging my garden. They just sat there in the gloom watching the ever growing number of Blackbirds rioting over what scattered seed they could find. I counted over 20 Blackbirds.

Later in the day I noticed the Fieldfare had returned to the old orchard across the lane so I took the camera across to see if I could get some photos of them. Fortunately there is a wall just high enough to hide most of me and some bushes to screen the camera. Where there used to be dozens of whole rosy apples on the ground it is now a scattering of apple peel and cores with just the odd nearly whole one to attract a few  Fieldfare for a while longer.

Fieldfare and Apples 1

Fieldfare and Apples 3

Fieldfare and Apples 2

Occasionally there would be a short squabble over ownership .....

Fieldfare Squabble 4

Fieldfare Squabble 5

.... but it didn't take long to get back to the serious business of eating.

Fieldfare and Apple 6

I would be very surprised if there are many of this flock left today as most will have moved on to pastures new by now.


  1. That photo of the aggressive fieldfare with its tail feathers splayed out is brilliant, John. Inspired by your posts, I'm going to visit our local fruit shop and see if they've got any cheap soft apples that I can use to try to tempt these handsome birds into our garden. I've got a few crab apples left on the tree here but only the starlings seem interested in those...

  2. I have been very lucky, Phil, to have been able to observe a large flock of these birds so close to home. I would guess that being near the coast meant that the flock hadn't dispersed. Looks as though there are only one or two left now.

    I took over 30 shots but it was difficult to get just one in frame. I must admit I was pleased with the last two photos and a bit of aggression always helps to get that slightly different view.

    Good luck with your venture.

  3. Hi there John, what a fantastic opportunity to see these birds feeding!

    I’m delighted for you that you were able to capture that moment. A great series of photos observing a great winter spectacle… great job!! Thanks so much for sharing this with us :-D

  4. It was Shirl. They had me enthralled for hours as I had never seen even one before this week. I was even more pleased to see them feeding. I didn't like to get too close to start with as I didn't want to scare them away but I needn't have worried - the call of food was stronger than their fear. I guess they had recently flown across the North Sea and were very hungry.

  5. Hi John, it seems the Fieldfare is more prevalent this year. A lot of people are seeing Fieldfares for the first time, including me. I was looking through the pictures on Flickr last night, in the group 'Birds and Wildlife UK' and I have noticed a lot of pictures of Redwings and Fieldfares but none of Waxwings. Last year, there was loads of pictures of Waxwings, which is interesting because it must show that there more Fieldfares and Redwings that have come over this year but the Waxwings have not appeared yet. I think this group 'Birds and Wildlife UK' does give some indications of our wildlife in UK because they do have over 5,000 members and over 98,000 pictures.

  6. These are great pictures John, well worth braving the cold for.

  7. Thank you Adrian. I was stood in six inches of soft snow and it was only when I came back indoors I realised I still had my indoor moccasins on.

  8. Hello Lynmiranda. There do seem to be many reports of Fieldfare this Winter. I have had one Redwing visit a couple of times otherwise it has mainly been lots of the usual garden visitors. I have yet to see a Waxwing.

  9. I have enjoyed catching up with all your Fieldfare news! What a treat, you must have been thrilled. I have never seen one and was hoping after seeing the Redwing that I might but nothing so far despite putting apples out. Lovely photos especially the last two! I also enjoyed the video on the earlier post.

    I hope the moccasins have dried out, that did make me smile :)

  10. Hello Jan. It was a great treat, probably a once in a lifetime occurrence to see so many so close to home. I hope you get one visit soon.

    Surprisingly the moccasins stayed dry though the toes were a bit on the numb side for a while ;)

  11. Great photos and very interesting to see the birds with all that snow. It's very hard (for someone living in sub-tropical heat!) to imagine how they manage to even survive in that cold.

  12. Thank you Mick. It beats me how they survive. It shows what good insulation feathers must be. Also important to find high energy food which is the most difficult thing for them in the present weather conditions.

  13. Cracking set of pictures John; those last two really are excellent. Had a few in the garden today.
    There does seem to be a lot around at the moment.
    The cold weather forcing them to pastures new I think.

  14. Hallo John, I followed your comment on worms to this blog and am so glad I did. Your fieldfare pics are superb, particularly the aggressive tail feathers, he looks like a capercaille! I've had one fieldfare turn up for the first time three days ago and he is disrupting the whole place, chasing blackbirds thrushes starlings, dunnocks, tits and finches indiscriminately. I'm not sure I'm very fond of him he is such a bully.

  15. Thank you Keith. It was a pity the last one had a bird in the background otherwise I was pleased with the captures.
    They seem to be nearly everywhere at the moment.

  16. Hello Yan. Thank you for visiting and your kind comment. I think all the rowdy Blackbirds kept them out of my garden and the old orchard provided plenty of free food. I didn't see any today.

  17. I wish I had a camera, as I'm sitting in Bristol watching a flock of about 10 fieldfares strip the berry bushes in my back garden.
    The resident black bird is absolutely irate and I'm hoping he doesn't hurt himself. So far they've ignored his seeds and are just eating berries so he's safe.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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