Monday, 16 November 2015

Fieldfares

David of Rambling by Nature (there doesn't seem to be a way of leaving a comment on his blog, it just suggests entry by Twitter) lives somewhere between the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Wolds - both very beautiful areas here in Yorkshire.   He speaks of wonderful wildlife there but says he still hasn't seen any Fieldfares yet.

When the farmer came in at lunchtime he said our fields here on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales were full of fieldfares this morning.   They were not after the hawthorn berries - indeed there are none left to forage for, they have eaten them all, or dropped them on the grass, where they do not seem to go down and pick them up.   No, these fieldfares were all in the grass and seemed to be searching for grubs of some sort.

Fieldfares are in the Thrush family of birds and visit us here on the farm every Winter, where they seem such wild birds.   And yet we have sat on a bench in a park in Norway and thrown crumbs from our sandwiches to a fieldfare pecking around our feet.   How differently they seemed to behave there.

We get such pleasure from the birds which visit our bird table and I am afraid we spend an awful lot of money on bird food.  But we justify it by saying that we don't go out all that often so we pay to watch the birds instead.  What do we feed them? 

All of the tit family love the fat balls, the sunflower hearts and the coconut (we buy one and the farmer saws it in half and hangs it in the rowan tree).   The robin adores the meal worms.  The woodpeckers love peanuts, mixed seed and the coconut.  The greenfinches love niger seed.  The blackbird loves a hunk of old cheese on the table itself.  All the other birds eat a variety of things and many of them - chaffinches in particular - prefer to be ground eaters, as do the collared doves.  We get a large number of pheasants and the farmer scatters corn for them to eat.

Harsh weather - maybe even snow showers - is forecast for the weekend.   Who knows what we shall get in then.    It is always exciting to watch and wait.


21 comments:

Countryside Tales said...

I'm with you on feeding the birds and love seeing who comes to the garden. I keep a piece of paper pinned to the kitchen cupboard and write up who arrives throughout the year. Very glad your Fieldfares have arrived. I haven't seen any here yet. Fingers crossed the weather isn't too bad for you over the weekend.

A Heron's View said...

We feed the birds too our regulars are the Blue Tits who occasionally sit on the window cill and peer into the room for a few minutes before fly off to the feeder.
After those B T come the Sparrows, Greenfinches and Bull Finches. The pheasants will eat just about anything that is put out for them.

Rachel said...

The flocks of Fieldfares are here too. They are a pleasure to watch, much of the time they are on the ground in the fields after the sugar beet feeding or on any stubbles that are left.

Heather said...

The fieldfares obviously listen in to our weather forecasts! I hope they find enough to eat and don't come to your garden and steal everything from the other regular customers. We seldom see fieldfares down here but then we seldom get very harsh winter conditions. My husband also spends quite a lot on bird food and puts out similar offerings in various places in the garden. They always interesting to watch and sometimes quite entertaining too.

angryparsnip said...

I love all the birds that come to the two shallow ponds I have made for them. And all the other critters that mosey by.
I don't feed them, our winters are not as harsh as yours. I don't want them dependent on me in case I get sick.
But I do put some food out here and there and nesting places for them.

cheers, parsnip

Doc said...

I ha d to give up on the bird table because we have so many large grey and the smaller red squirrels that eat all that is put there and get quite nasty toward any bird that may be brave enough. I purchased several of the tube feeders and that seems to take care of it. Love to sit and watch the birds.

donna baker said...

One thing that brings true joy in my life is feeding and watching the birds. If there is an afterlife, I think I want to come back as a bird.

Joanne Noragon said...

An elegant bird. My grandaughter just went out to fill our feeders. She believes they should "clean their plates." If I see half the feeders emoty, I send her.

Frances said...

I like the idea of your investing in various types of food that will encourage differing birds to stop by for a meal or two. Sounds like excellent entertainment to me. I bet that those birds love being invited to stop by, and tell their friends, too.

Someday, I hope to have the opportunity to have such a cafe.

Best wishes.

Cro Magnon said...

Fieldfares are the muscle-men of the Thrush family. We don't really see many here, but I have seen a few. I shan't begin to feed our birds for quite a while yet; not until the first frosts; then I give them fat balls and seeds.

Frances said...

Not seen any fieldfares yet, but we do often get them here ( Hertfordshire) I think that the robin(s) that fed voraciously from my window feeder last year must have either moved on or died, as the robin that is around now has refused to go anywhere near it for the mealworms, but will feed from the seed feeder round the corner by the kitchen window.

Frances said...

ps. We have some house sparrows around for the first time in 36 years!!

potty said...

We have just started the feeding of 'our' birds. We buy in bulk and often think that we could have had a really good meal out at a 3 or 4 Star venue for the price of their food. Then we realise how much better to spend on them, and the dog, and the fish....

Philip said...

Despite what is going on in the world, the arrival of Fieldfares is an important event in Nature's cycle. They're here in West Suffolk just down the road from Rachel. I'll keep on reading the papers but I'm also going to take up Countryside Tales idea of keeping a notepad ready to list sightings of new arrivals on my plot.

Bovey Belle said...

We spoke of you yesterday Pat, when we had our meet up, and said how we wished you could be there (and Sue from Suffolk). What a lot of chatterboxes we'd have been with 6 there - it was bad enough with 4!

I think Dawn mentioned possible snow this weekend (perish the thought). I had better get some more milk in and freeze it.

I think I saw a Fieldfare yesterday (in woodland along our valley) but we don't normally get them unless the weather really IS dire, and then they will come into the garden too. I've seen them "worming" in fields further up the valley when all is still green.

The birds here are going crazy for the food and have got through a sack of seed in about a fortnight. I shall get Sunflower hearts next time and there should be a lot less waste and no weeds sprouting beneath the feeders. Woody Woodpecker has found both nut nets now and is always a delight to see. Our other visitors are House Sparrows (we support a big colony here), Chaffinches, Great and Blue Tits, Coal (or Marsh?) Tits. No Greenfinches (too wooded here I think) and Goldfinches only in the summer! Long Tailed Tits about the garden but not at the feeders. Must put some cheese out for Mr Blackbird (he loves the cat food leftovers . . .)

Midmarsh John said...

It's a few years since Fieldfares descended on the village. Last time was one snowy week when they spent a few days devouring windfall apples in a few gardens.

The History Anorak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thelma said...

Feeding the birds is always fun. We have two grey squirrels who haunt the bird table, but our little gatherings consist of chaffinches, also a gold crest, then there are robins, sparrows, blue tits, great tits and long tailed tits. Not forgetting of course collared doves, pigeons and pheasants. The only bird I do not see a lot of here in Yorkshire, is the magpie, whereas down in Essex there were plenty...

Granny Sue said...

We feed here in the States too, Pat, and enjoy watching them very much. I had never heard of Fieldfares before, shall have to go look up a photo. Our winter visitors are the usual: chickadee, titmouse, nuthatch, woodpeckers, juncos (they have not yet arrived, but we call them snowbirds and they usually do seem to drag the snow in on their tails when they finally get here). Sometimes a few goldfinch winter over, occasionally robins do too. And sparrows, we have those or various kinds. The most flambouyant in winter is the pileated woodpecker, a big brute of a woodpecker.

meigancam01 said...

Very Nice article.
Love to read your blogs.
Thanks for sharing these articles.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Fieldfares only come into town when the weather is really bad. When it is, as you say, they violently strip bushes - ornamental ones on the estate I run through - in flocks of a hundred or more.