Brief overlap by bird visitors

May 20th 2019

At 1635 hours on 11th April 2019 I was finishing a cup of tea when I noticed that the upper branches of the tall aspens at the back of my vegetable garden in Nedd (NC1331) were dotted with birds, silhouetted against the afternoon sun (photo 1).  After I had carefully opened the front door, to avoid scaring them off, their quietly musical chattering gave them away, some seventy redwingsTurdus iliacus, which often choose this group of trees as a staging post. They were still there half an hour later, when I heard my first cuckoo, Cuculus canorus, calling from the wooded slopes behind the village.

Two hours later the redwings were still around, feeding along the grassy sides of my drive and on adjacent crofts, giving me the opportunity to get some closer photographs, albeit through the sitting room window (photos 2 and 3).  Their rusty-red flanks and the pale stripes above their eyes showed up well.

I suspect that overlaps between these winter and summer visitors, both northward-bound, do not occur often, but cuckoos were very early this year.

Ian M. Evans

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