Yesterday my twitter feed was full of excited reports of the mass arrival of Redwing, that most attractive member of the thrush family. A bird who's blushing red flank and distinctive eye stripes bring joy to the winter walker, and terror to berry laden bushes and trees.
It wasn't just sightings of flocks of the actual bird that were being reported. After dark, people were tweeting of the redwing tweets, the distinctive high pitched "seeeeeeep" the birds emit as they fly over. The redwing, and its cousin the fieldfare, are icons of the British winter, and they will be a familiar sight in country trees and fields over the season, moving into town to attack berry laden trees when the cold snaps hard.
So, I decided to have a listen out for the redwing before I went to bed. For an urban location, I have a very tranquil little spot to stargaze and listen for birds in, and as midnight ticked over, I took myself out to have a listen in the quiet.
Within five minutes, I heard a faint call. It was redwing, heading over NW to SE by the sounds of things, the delicate "seeep" distinctly heard. A few minutes later, I heard the calls again, moving in the same direction.
The redwing have arrived! And you don't have to birdwatch with just your eyes!