October 09, 2010

This week in wildlife

News from Sheffield: the first redwings have arrived. Chipper little thrushes carrying a red-top paper under their wings, they fly in from Scandinavia each October, some merely stopping off before continuing as far south as Spain and Portugal, some overwintering here, patrolling our winter fields and stripping the hedgerows of berries until spring. Like starlings they roost in huge communal gatherings, and can often be heard over cities at night, when the traffic diminishes enough for their 'tseep! tseep!' flight-calls, designed to have a long range, to filter down to urban gardens from invisible flocks far overhead.