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.
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.
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.
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.