It goes without saying that winter can be a tough time for wildlife, but when the leaves have fallen from the trees it becomes much easier to spot birds and follow the tracks and signs of other animals. We also do of course get to see different birds, those migrants who have come south for the warmer weather, so it’s an interesting time of year. If you’re just getting into birding, please don’t pack away your bins til spring, as there’s plenty to see if you can handle the cold weather.
Now I adore cosy nights in as much as any hygge-loving soul, but I also get fed up in winter with all the time I have to spend inside so I make a real effort to get out on dry days. Here’s the winter birds I’m looking out for in my local area this season.
Hawfinch – a rare sight and normally a notoriously shy bird, in recent years we’re seeing flocks. There has been a large influx from eastern Europe and twitchers are understandably galvanized. They feed on the ground so you’re more likely to spot them in winter.
Redwing – a countryside winter roamer, the redwing has a striking red flank and can team up in flocks with fieldfares.
Fieldfares – A more colourful thrush, the fieldfare is a winter visitor and can arrive in flocks. Look out for them amongst the hawthorn bushes.
Waxwings – surely the most glamorous winter bird, with its glossy, waxy coat and little tuft of feathers on the head. If you’re going to follow any of the links in this post, please follow this one to see a lovely video of a flock of gorgeous waxwings feeding on rowan berries.
Brambling – annoyingly for a bird that looks remarkably like a chaffinch, it actually flocks with chaffinches, so can be difficult to spot!
Snow Bunting – robins aside, is there a more festive bird? Snow buntings are buntings with white feathers on their underside and migrate from the Artic and Scandinavia in winter. Can be found in flocks along the coast.
Robin – reliable robin, always present, but only really gets attention at Christmas, with good reason. The UK’s favourite bird.
Goldcrest – an elusive garden bird, they join mixed flocks in the colder months and their tiny beak favours pine forests.
Blackcap – quite dull looking and often overlooked, yet quite pleasing and fluffy. I saw one this morning as I drove through a very treed area.
Shorelark – they like coastlines and sometimes wander into fields and are really quite rare in the UK.
Whats winter birds have you seen so far this season and what are you looking forward to searching for?
FYI these are not my photos, just from the internet.