Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Thrush Hour

We'd like to welcome Crossfield's latest residents.  I was first alerted by a big bird squabble the other day and the unmistakeable rattle of an angry magpie.  I'm happy to say that a couple of protective thrushes can see off a magpie, a fairly formidable bird itself.  Here are the youngsters:
 And here is the watchful mother.  I haven't seen the male around for a while but I doubt that she'll get done for underoccupancy.

Thursday's rush hour:
 This was a 3pm meal of worms al fresco served up too fast for my camera.
Watchful parent.  I've seen 3 chicks but I think there may be a fourth.

Friday update:
Mixed news: I discovered that both parents are hard at work.  So this bird.... not this one!

Though the lower one looks bigger and fluffier than the one above it (with a worm in its beak), they're very difficult to tell apart.  The fluffiness is due to the fact that it's sitting.

The other bit of (maybe not so good) news is that there is one unhatched egg in the nest. It seems to get moved around so it's not visible when I took the photos.

So what else is there to tell?  I didn't know how to tell a song thrush from a mistle thrush but I noticed white colouring at the end of the tail feathers as one flew off.  This, I've just learned is a indication that it's a mistle thrush.  Also where I wrote the ''unmistakeable rattle of an angry magpie,'' I may have been mistaken because ''A diagnostic dry rattle, akin to that
made by old-fashioned football rattles'' is also characteristic of the mistle thrush.  In my defence, I did say I'm not an expert!

Update 5 May

The three chicks appear to be doing well.  The unhatched egg is either hidden from view at the bottom of the nest or it's been jettisoned.  It's a bit blurry but I managed to capture an early bit of wing stretching this evening.

Bank Holiday family reunion!
8 May and things are getting crowded in there:
A final update:

After a very stormy night I awoke this morning (10 May) to find that there were only 2 fledglings left in the nest.  At first I was worried that the wind had carried one away but then realised that the remaining two were ready to leave.
A final meal:
And then there was none:
Amazing how quickly they grew - the first post was a little more than a week ago.


  1. So that extraordinary noise I heard was a magpie? are you sure? it was proper raptor-like...I thought the local kestrel was circling and I had to close my ears to what happened next...glad to see the family alive.

    1. I'm not an expert by any means but during a late afternoon last week I heard a ''guiro'' type sound, much more continuous than the normal magpie warning call. I looked out of the window and saw 2 brown birds, one darker than the other, dive bombing a magpie and eventually chasing it off. And come to think of it, I haven't heard a magpie since.

      I don't know enough to be able to sex the birds but I assumed that the one that's sitting is the female. I haven't spotted the other one around. She was sitting earlier today but she does seem to leave the nest unattended for quite long intervals. Fingers crossed!

  2. was just woken up by an 'end of the world' type sound, a loud mechanical grinding noise so loud I couldn't tell where it was coming from, turns out it was the railway. some sort of rail cleaning machine? network rail? whos responsible. either way it was a bit effin much and very scary.

    that reminds me – the birds will start on the loud noise soon, but much preferable. i hope the chicks survive, does anyone know what happened with the swans?

  3. Mummy swan is still sitting on her eggs...apparently incubation is around 35 days, so expect to see the cygnets in a week's time?