This species often flies over with enormous flocks of hundreds of thousands of Chaffinches from Scandinavian forests to winter in Britain. In general appearance, Bramblings resemble Chaffinches but can be distinguished in flight by a narrow white rump slit. The male can also be recognised by its blackish-brown head and unusual orange-buff shoulder patches and breast, and the female by its buffish breast.
In some years, where breeding has been very successful, 'invasions' of huge flocks descend on our beech woods to feed and when this food is no longer available will come to garden feeding stations. They will accompany Chaffinches and other seed-eaters, feeding on seed that’s found its way onto the ground (often it’s dropped from a bird seed feeder).
They take sunflower seed, especially the black variety, and will pick through any of the Haith’s wild bird foods or Huskfree seed mixes especially when the ground becomes snow-covered.
The Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) is occasionally referred to as the silver-throated tit or silver-throated dasher.
This tit can be found in copses and hedgerows throughout Britain and is able to survive hard winters even in the Highland glens.
With its tail longer than the remainder of its body and a delicate rosy tint to its black-and-white plumage, this is one of the easiest of the woodland tits to recognise.
It’s marvellous oval nest made of moss woven together with cobwebs and hair, covered with lichens and lined with as many as 2,000 feathers, is usually built in gorse, thorn or bramble bushes.
They will feed from your garden and bird table, suet, sunflower hearts, Beggar’s Banquet Softfood, and Prosecto Insectivorous.
The beautiful Waxwing is a winter visitor from the north of Russia and Europe. Some years it can migrate here in very large numbers, whilst other years, there are hardly any. If you live in the eastern counties of England and Scotland then this is where they can be mainly seen searching for red berries, which they are very partial too. The biggest flocks can usually be viewed near to petrol stations and supermarkets as their borders have usually been planted with plants and shrubs that bear red berries. The bushes and shrubs will have been chosen for their fast-growing properties as they cover the ground rapidly and with very little TLC required; however, the birds love their fruits and large groups of Waxwings (A museum of Waxwings) can strip them bare in very little time at all.
They are slightly smaller than a Starling but their red and yellow tipped wings and crest are unique. They will visit gardens for fruit, so try our ground feeder filled with raisins but ideally plant a rowan, hawthorn or cotoneaster bush, a great addition to any garden.
The Fieldfare is the largest of the winter thrushes and arrives in October but has usually gone from our shores by April. A very social bird it will spend the winter here in large flocks of up to several hundred and can be seen all over the UK near to hedges and fields. No other thrush has its chestnut brown upperparts and grey head and rump, this is particularly obvious when in flight. Flocks will feed in fields looking for spiders and slugs but in very bad weather will come to a bird table or ground feeder for raisins, suet, and seeds. Try feeding our Golden Chorus if you spot Fieldfares nearby.
So even in these dark days of winter, when the weather eases and allows us to venture outside, there is still plenty of interesting and beautiful birds to see.