When you are a bit of a Birder, it’s very exciting to see new visitors. All week I have been feeding and watering the birds. Great tits; blue tits; sparrows and dunnocks; (male) blackbirds and a female blackbird in fancy dress – she is wearing a penguin costume (more of that another time).
This morning when everything started to melt, next door had both Green and Goldfinches and I was jealous. They have upmarket seed, where I have peanuts and fat balls. So I should not be surprised. Watching the finches made me stop and smile. My grin got even bigger when I saw a nuthatch and he came and ate my peanuts! The RSPB tell me “these birds seldom travelling far from the woods where they hatch”. So I know where he is from and hope he will be back. If I try stalking him it does not make me a Twitcher, it just means I am a little bit mad.
Later today after much negotiation, consultation; checking of the weather forecast, the bus timetable and the roads it was agreed that I would attempt to travel 10 miles by car, starting and finishing in the lanes that were slushy and slippery. Journey accomplished (it quite hard driving on the edge of your seat). I let myself in and made a cuppa to drink looking out of the window. (Travel all that way and had to make my own tea).
More delight and a little surprise. Where there are lots of berries there are two birds I do not know. Going into naturalist mode (still fully clothed you understand) I searched for distinguishing features. Easy – they both have big yellow eyebrows; are bigger than a robin and smaller than a thrush and look a bit thrush like.
Using the internet bird identifier I am thrown when there is no category for “eyebrow colour”. I have to go the long way round – where seen/ size/shape/colour and so on. Imagine my confusion and surprise when they turn out to be Redwings. REDwings – they have wacking great yellow eyebrows and a little bit of red under their wings and someone decided to call them Redwings!
After a fair bit of snorting with some “I don’t believe it” ranting, I remember that they are pretty, a great and new sight and a visitor to our slushy, grubby country. It is not their fault that someone gave them the wrong name.
So from now on they will be the “Yellow Eyebrow Birds” commonly know as Redwings.