Yesterday 8am I set off in search of redwing around Withnell Fold nature reserve and scrapes and all I found were stripped hawthorns.... But I did spot a kingfisher hurtling down the Leeds-Liverpool canal - you never know what you're going to find.
This morning I explored Bagganley Lane and Healey Lodges. First up was an electric blue kingfisher poised on a branch over Black Brook - stunning colours in the sunlight.
Next, flocks overhead - and a chance to practise identifying them in flight. I think I've got it now: fieldfare have black tails and pale rumps from the back, pale underwings from the side. Redwing - more difficult - generally have a pale belly. Hmm need more practise with these.
And then walking the path back from the lodges to the car - flocks sooo close! Redwing flitting in the hawthorns, pale eye patched giving them away. And fieldfare at the top of the ash, the sun blending their heads and backs with the grey/brown bark, and their buff chests the same colour as ash keys. What a stunning morning.
Now, back to the redwing. How do you identify flocks in flight?
Photos of kingfisher and redwing are by Mike Atkinson. See link from this page. Well worth a visit.