Officially, in Britain, the resident true thrushes are the Ring ouzel, Fieldfare, Blackbird, Song thrush, Mistle thrush and Redwing, while other thrush species are occasional, sometimes rare visitors.
The thrushes I’ve been noticing most in recent weeks have been the Song thrush, Mistle thrush and Redwing, partly due to their seasonal migration southwards to our ever so slightly milder south Wales climate and partly due to this being prime berry-eating time.
Song thrushes (Turdus philomelos) are resident here all year round, though there is some movement through Britain from Scandinavian birds heading south for the winter.
It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish Song from Mistle thrushes (Turdus viscivorus), though the Mistles have a tendency to perch high in the tree tops (or, I discovered, on TV aerials, in urban areas!) and to stand with heads held high when foraging on the ground, and their football-rattle song is unmistakeable. I saw my first Mistle thrushes of the season on 9 October and there are now quite large numbers in local parks and reserves.
Redwings (Turdus iliacus) were reported locally in early October but it was the 30th before I caught up with a small flock at Cathays Cemetery in Cardiff, and I’ve since spent several hours following them around the berry trees at Cosmeston, trying to get close enough for photos. They’re easily spooked though so my shots so far have not been that great – I’ll keep trying, and I’ll need to try to find Ring ouzels and Fieldfare as well.