These are redwings or fieldfares. Both species are immigrants from Scandinavia and northern Europe arriving in the UK during autumn and departing in early spring. Both species will visit gardens to plunder supplies of holly and hawthorn berries.
The redwing is the smaller of the two and can be distinguished from the more familiar song thrush by being generally darker and slimmer. The redwing is dark russet brown above with a very conspicuous buff coloured eye-stripe. The under parts are whitish, streaked dark brown with a large and conspicuous red coloured flank and under wing – hence its name. The Fieldfare is a larger bird, comparable to our Mistle thrush, and can be distinguished from all other UK thrushes by the combination of blue-grey head and rump and chestnut back and wings. The fieldfare is also quite a noisy bird, particularly in flight, and its harsh ‘chack-chack’ calls will quite often alert you to its presence.
Picture by Elizabeth Dack