The season is changing; I went out for my ‘flu jab this morning and the sharpness in the air made me think of winter days in Kelvingrove Park watching the Redwings, and the other Thrushes. Having had the place to themselves for half the year, the Song Thrushes suddenly find themselves very far from alone in the fallen leaves.

Is this disturbing or do they relish the safety in numbers? It must be useful to have many other pairs of eyes to watch for predators and spaniels, and sound a collective alarm. The calls of the Redwings are not generally considered musical but their clamour animates the winter early mornings in the Park. I look forward to this every year; I wonder when they will come and anticipate seeing those small eruptions in the leaf litter which give them away.

Photographing them is often a long job as they rarely spend much time in well lit space. The seemingly magic shrubs below the Roberts Memorial keep the Redwings in berries throughout the winter and if you’re lucky, they’ll perch in the open in those bushes.

Hard ground brings them out into the open and one particularly wet spring morning saw hundreds of them on a large muddy patch where the dogs and their walkers had destroyed the grass entirely, taking earthworms, in what may have been a last big feed before the long flight home.  

It’s mid-October now and I’ve a while to wait. The Song Thrushes will keep me going; would that there were more of them. They seem to make eccentric nest siting decisions and their chicks seem to lack all the survival instincts so they’re a pleasure and a worry at the same time.

PS It’s now Saturday 29th October. I thought I saw the Redwings earlier in the week – my wife met the bird ringing man in the Botanic Gardens this morning and he told her that they’d arrived. I think that they are really quite early this year. I hope to catch up with them in the Park in the near future.

Some more images of Redwings and song Thrushes follow.

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