We headed for Whinfell Tarn and Black Moss Tarn and we heard and saw mixed flocks of starling and fieldfare along the route. Abundant hawthorn berries were the attraction. A flock of starling is a noisy, chattering affair and you had to be alert to catch the call of fieldfare amongst them. The morning grew brighter so sunlight caught the more colourful fieldfare as they flew.
Having found few birds on Scout Scar last week, and no winter thrush, this was gratifying. I saw and heard more fieldfare on today's walk than through the whole of last winter.
Nigel had seen twenty redwing at Kirkby Lonsdale on Monday.
The thrill is to find things for oneself. To look and listen, to discover how birds use their habitat and how they behave. Some of my companions had never seen fieldfare and when I rejoined them they were interested to know that they are autumn migrants from Scandinavia. Their coming is triggered by the search for food, for the berries they feed on. The weather influences their journey. A spell of cold weather and a helpful wind direction might bring them in. And they stay only whilst the food supply lasts. Then they're off in search of more. Fieldfare are thrush, a beautiful and rather colourful thrush. It's puzzling that several of my companions go on long-haul flights, on safari in search of exotic animals. But showed little interest in this sunlit singing tree and its wildlife.
I had only a smartphone with which to take photographs today. So the birds in the singing tree are only just perceptible in the image. My video is more lively. The experience was memorable. Forget art installations, give me wildlife. Wild and alive.