We often associate migration with the summer months in particular the long distance migrants, such as swallows and swifts, which breed in the UK and Europe and spend the winter in Africa. But some birds actually chose to migrate to visit the UK in the winter. Why do you think they chose to do this?

These winter visitors are birds that arrive in late autumn from the north and east to spend the winter in the UK, where the weather is milder and food is easier to find. In spring, they return to their breeding quarters.

red wingThese include fieldfare and redwing, both members of the thrush family. We have seen redwing in the wooded area at the southern end of the reserve. Redwings are smaller than the song thrush and have a distinctive creamy strip above the eye and orange-red flank patches. They feed mainly on earthworms and berries.

Redwing visit urban parks and gardens when the weather is cold. You may hear the call of a passing flock of redwings, even after dark, calling "tseep"

Many other birds migrate as well. You might be surprised to learn that many familiar birds such as starlings and blackbird you see in your garden in January could well be winter visitors from Eastern Europe.

Some of our local birds migrate locally for example: tits and wrens moving from the countryside to urban areas, starlings flying from their city roosts to suburban gardens during the daytime, thrushes flying southwards from northern Britain, etc. Some birds, as we discussed in a previous post, form winter feeding flocks. http://www.railwaylandlive.org/a-place-to-think/winter-flocks/

Keep an eye out in your garden, local park or school grounds over the next couple of months for winter migrants.