This is why you might spot some new feathered friends in your garden as these birds are spotted across the North East coast

Spotted any new birds feasting on your garden feeders or in the park?

Saturday, 20th February 2021, 6:00 am

Scores of Redwings and Fieldfares – part of the thrush family and related to the Blackbird – have been sighted along the North East’s coast in recent weeks, with birdwatching experts explaining why we’ve been able to see these visitors.

They have been joined by the distinctive Woodcock, a wader more commonly found in woodlands and arrives to the UK from Finland and Russia to winter here.

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A Fieldfare on the left and Redwing on the right, pictured by Ian Fisher of Cahow Photography.

Martin Davison is chairman of the Northumberland and Tyneside Bird Club said the extremely cold weather being experienced on the “icebound” continent of Europe pushed the thrushes across to the UK, with Scandinavia and Western Russia among their common feeding grounds at this time of year when temperatures are a little warmer.

In Britain, they usually head to the countryside having arrived in the autumn, but with the last week’s snowy weather, they have headed to the coastline to catch a meal, with Redwings and Fieldfares especially keen on apples.

Martin said said: “Everybody has been reporting Fieldfare and Redwing in their gardens and they aren’t really garden birds at all.

A Woodcock in flight, captured by Ian Fisher of Cahow Photography.

"But they have been coming to the coast and have become garden birds to feed, so they’ve been pushed into suburbia, where they know there’s going to be food.

"Farmland is not as rich as it was 15 years or so ago, it’s not as good for feeding birds, so that’s why they come into gardens and it’s great, people are providing seeds, nuts, fat balls and all sorts and these birds also adore apples.”

The Redwing is a dull brown colour with a white line above its eye, has pale yellow beak and a red flash under its wing as it flies, giving it its name.

A Woodcock, pictured in the undergrowth by Ian Fisher of Cahow Photography.

A Fieldfare is a little bigger, grey and can be identified by its orange breast, orange bill and is described by Martin as a “jolly bird” with a bouncy action.

A Woodcock is larger again, around the same size as a Jackdaw, with brown feathers, short legs, a long tapering bill and eyes on the side of its head.

More about the work of the club can be found via https://www.ntbc.org.uk/ and its counterpart https://www.durhambirdclub.org.uk/, which covers from the South of the Tyne to the Tees.

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A Fieldfare pictured on the coast by Ian Fisher of Cahow Photography.

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A Redwing looks for its next feed, pictured by Ian Fisher of Cahow Photography.