Winter Migrants

Winter Migrants

Richard Steel/2020VISION

What are they?

Winter migrants such as Redwing and Fieldfare enjoy seasonal berries the UK's hedgerows, gardens and parks have to offer. They can often be spotted in flocks together, moving from bush to bush looking for food.

The Fieldfare is a large, colourful thrush that visits the UK in the winter to feast on berry-laden bushes in hedgerows, woodlands and parks. Fieldfares are sociable birds and can be seen in flocks of more than 200 birds roaming through the countryside. They often venture into gardens when there is snow cover or if it is a severe winter. The Redwing is a small thrush that visits the UK in the winter to feast on berry-laden bushes in hedgerows, orchards, parks and gardens. Redwings migrate here at night - on clear evenings listen out for their 'tsee' call overhead. Apples and berry-producing bushes like Hawthorn may attract Redwings into the garden.

Where can we find them?

Mere Sands Wood

Winter wildfowl populations include large numbers of gadwall and teal, as well as wigeon, pintail, shoveler, pochard, tufted duck, goldeneye and goosander, with the bittern often visiting. In all, over 170 bird species have been seen on the reserve.

Haskayne Cutting

Approximately 60 species of birds have been noted on Haskayne of which 37 are thought to breed. March and April is a good time of year to see meadow pipit, wheatear, yellowhammer and while fieldfare and redwing are winter visitors. 

How to identify them


The Redwing is dark brown above and white below, with a black-streaked breast and distinctive orangey-red flanks and underwing, which the similar Song Thrush lacks. It has a very smart face pattern, with a white eyebrow stripe and dark brown cheeks.


The Fieldfare has a chestnut-brown back and yellowy breast, streaked with black. It has a black tail, dark wings and pale grey rump and head. It is a little smaller than the similar-looking Mistle Thrush, but quite distinctive.