Spring! And Can You Identify these Birds?

10 Feb

The sun was not just bright today: there was actual warmth in it too.  Buds were appearing on trees that had not yet shaken off all of their Autumn leaves, and the birds were in a state of high excitement. Tits, treecreepers, finches, robins, blackbirds, rooks – all were chirping their heads off and flitting from tree to tree as though preparations for a royal wedding were under way.

In the distance in one of the fields, a glossy flock of starlings was rooting among the grasses for delicacies. Among them was a flock of other birds. These are the ones I’m not sure of. A little smaller than doves, they preferred running to flying: they would stand up very tall and then run like the wind for several yards to a new browsing-patch. I half-expected to hear them going “meep-meep!” like the cartoon Roadrunner.

I set my lens to full zoom and tried to use the hedge as a makeshift tripod, but it kept swaying. This was the clearest picture I got (click it for the full-sized version). Are they some kind of thrush?

I thought about climbing into the field to get a closer look, but there was an extensive flood between me and them, and I wasn’t wearing wellies. As I assessed the expanse of water, I noticed this robin enjoying himself: he hopped in and out of the shallows for a good ten minutes.

I was surprised to also spot a very young squirrel. Already! These squirrels don’t hang about. I suppose it could have been a midget squirrel, but it seemed rather callow. This is how it hid from me:

UPDATE: I now have it on good authority that the mystery birds are fieldfares.




11 Responses to “Spring! And Can You Identify these Birds?”

  1. cloudhopper February 11, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    Redwings or Fieldfares, most likely. But your best bet is to catch one, and take it to Morrisons – they’ll scan the barcode and tell you for certain.


    Make a note for your birthday: Spotter Scope.

    • Snailquake February 12, 2011 at 12:04 am #

      WordPress decided you were a spammer and I had to approve your comment. I guess you need to watch your language!

      Thank you for the link – I am sure that’s what they are! I’ve added an update to my entry now.

      • Mel February 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

        The spam alert was presumably due to the multiple links, jsyk. ;)

        • Snailquake February 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

          Hello, Melby, and thanks for popping by my blog. :)

          I was trying to decide whether it was the links and/or the dodgy key phrases he was using – “Morrisons”, “barcode”, and “make a note for your birthday”. I’m not yet sure how complex the spam spotter is on here…

          But mainly I was yanking his chain a bit, about watching his language. ;)

          • Mel February 12, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

            haha I did figure you were messing around, but thought I’d throw out the likely reason for it happening. I’m pretty sure there’s a setting where you can tell it how many links constitutes a potential spam warning, somewhere… :)

            You’re welcome, it’s nice, I’ve been nosing around a bit. :P Came over by way of visiting your Plurk. :)

            • Snailquake February 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

              Heh, I just spotted you on wotitdo’s plurk.

  2. SEF February 11, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Your mystery birds are rather variable in appearance – what little can be seen of them! From the plurk comments: I can understand the partridge suggestion because that’s the candidate with an obvious brown chest splodge like one of your specimens seems to be sporting. However, I think your birds have a little too much tail and not enough red in the cheeks (with a different face and beak shape too) while having a paradoxical white edge to the wing. This makes the fieldfare a better match – although your specimens look a lot paler than the one in my book.

    • Snailquake February 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

      I’m pretty sure they are fieldfares, now it’s been pointed out to me. They have exactly the same markings. The paleness may just be a matter of lighting.

      It’s great, having a mystery solved. Yay!

  3. Anonymous February 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Identification of flora and fauna has always been my weak spot. Just when I think I know the rule of what’s what, a variation comes along which confounds me. Finding out recently that a plant which since time immemorial had classified as bananoid, but is now to be understood as gingeroid (1993-ish) did little to help. (lol)

    • Snailquake February 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

      I think you have just described the problem with taxonomy as it stands today.


  1. Spring! And Can You Identify these Birds? I - October 14, 2012

    […] snailquake.wordpress.com/2011/02/10/can-you-identify-thes… […]

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