Fieldfares in the Crab Apple

redwingredwingsWhen the snow returned yesterday morning almost an inch fell, although it wasn’t as cold as it was after last year’s snowfalls. When I’ve cleared the driveway it’s been powdery but yesterday afternoon it was just starting to turn slushy, so it was heavier and slushily sticky to clear from the paving slabs. Powdery snow leaves the driveway cleaner; slush leaves it damp and filthy.

golden hornetAs the snow fell, Blackbirds, Fieldfares and Redwings came to the Golden Hornet crab apple, the one that we pruned on Monday. The snow-covered little apples, golden until mid-autumn (left) but now frosted and brown, proved a big attraction. We counted eight Redwings and five Fieldfare around midday, although I guess that at times there were more.

redwingfieldfareMy pen and ink drawings from my 1979 Sketchbook of the Natural History of the Country Round Wakefield don’t do justice to these attractive winter thrushes. The Fieldfare’s light grey, chestnut and whitish plumage is striking against a snowy landscape, as is the chestnut red beneath the wings of the Redwing. I often have difficulty picking out the red of the Redwing when I see it in silhouette in bushes or in flight but it was very obvious today, at close quarters seen through the 10 x 50 binoculars that I keep by the studio window.

The shapes of the birds were different today; Blackbird, Redwing and Fieldfare all had a more rounded silhouette as they had their feathers fluffed out against the cold.

3 replies on “Fieldfares in the Crab Apple”

  1. We live in west Dorset and have 4 large Bramley apple trees. They produce so much fruit that we can’t keep up with the produce. I thought what a waste seeing all the apples on the ground, then down came the snow followed by a flock of up to 20 Fieldfares and 10 Starlings! All we have left are the skins and core. No waste in nature!

    1. It was a brilliant year for Bramley’s. My mum’s 40 year old tree was laden and, unusually, the normally green apples turned russet on the sunny side but the ground got very wet during the autumn and we had high winds and the tree blew over. It does mean that visitors will be able to call on her during the autumn without being cajoled into leaving with carrier bags full of Bramleys. But the birds will miss them!

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