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Nature’s cold weather events may be lovely to look at – and I freely admit that, as a Kiwi unused to snow, I absolutely loved the heavy snow we had last week as a result of ‘The Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma – but such events come at a high cost, particularly to wildlife. The extreme cold and gale-force easterlies blew across from Europe thousands of Fieldfares and Redwings, and displaced a myriad of other birds: Golden plovers and Lapwing, Woodcocks and Snipe were all reported in parklands and farmers’ fields, all desperately looking for food.

180308 Fieldfare & Redwing

I’d not seen many Fieldfares before this storm hit but a walk around local parks and Cardiff Bay on Sunday and Monday gave me the opportunity to see large numbers of them and Redwings.

180308 Fieldfare Redwing Green woodpecker

In Penarth Marina Park, I spotted five of Britain’s six thrush species grazing (Song thrush, Mistle thrush, Blackbird, Redwing and Fieldfare) (accompanied by a Green woodpecker), and in trees alongside the River Taff, I got my closest views yet of Fieldfare – such beautiful markings.

180308 Fieldfare Redwing Song thrush180308 Fieldfare

Let’s hope they now have the strength to head back to where they came from and that the cold blast won’t have any long-term effects on their populations.