Orchard thrushes

Field Paintings

There has been a small flock of thrushes feeding on the bumper crop of apples in a local orchard for the last few weeks. After heavy snow fell a few days ago the numbers increased dramatically with at least 80 redwings, 40 blackbirds, and a few mistle thrushes, song thrushes and fieldfares. The hoardes of thrushes have devoured most of the huge pile of apples under the trees so I have put out more from the my ‘apple store’ to keep them going.

There is a huge amount of activity with lots of minor scuffles and threat displays as the birds defend their patch of apples. One morning a sparrowhawk suddenly appeared and circled under the trees just a few feet above them – mass panic broke out with birds scattering in all directions and flying hundreds of metres away to hide – it took about half-an hour before they returned to feed. I have spent several hours sitting sketching them, getting very cold in the process but well worth it for the amazing views of these usually shy birds.

John Walters

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