This December, January and February Norfolk Wildlife Trust is asking people to look out for three bird species. If you spot mistle thrush, redwings or fieldfares in Norfolk please share your sighting with us.
How to spot a redwing
The redwing is a winter visitor to Norfolk, enjoying the feast of seasonal berries found in our hedgerows, gardens and parks. They migrate here at night – on clear evenings listen out for their ‘tsee’ call overhead. They can often be spotted in flocks with fieldfares, moving from bush to bush looking for food.
The redwing is dark brown above and white below, with a black-streaked breast and distinctive orangey-red flanks and underwing, which the similar song thrush lacks. It has a very smart face pattern, with a white eyebrow stripe and dark brown cheeks.
How to spot a fieldfare
The fieldfare is a large, colourful thrush that visits the Norfolk in the winter to feast on berry-laden bushes in hedgerows, woodlands and parks. Fieldfares are sociable birds and can be seen in flocks of more than 200 birds roaming through the countryside. They often venture into gardens when there is snow cover or if it is a severe winter.
The fieldfare has a chestnut-brown back and yellowy breast, streaked with black. It has a black tail, dark wings and pale grey rump and head. It is a little smaller than the similar-looking mistle thrush, but quite distinctive.
How to spot a mistle thrush
The mistle thrush is a large songbird, commonly found in parks, gardens, woodland and scrub. It probably gets its common name from its love of mistletoe. It enjoys the sticky berries and, once it has found a berry-laden tree, will guard it from any would-be thieves. In turn, it helps mistletoe to thrive by accidentally 'planting' its seeds while wiping its bill on the tree bark to remove the sticky residue; it also disperses the seeds in its droppings.