Fieldfare – 2020

Turdus pilaris – SOCAN EIRA – Winter visitor and passage migrant.

The Fieldfare breeds across Iceland, much of northern and central Europe, and east to central Siberia and northwest China. Occasionally, it has bred in Scotland.

Some fieldfares arrive in Pembrokeshire in mid-September, but the main arrival is at the beginning of October (week 41).   The timing depends mainly on the food supply to the north – many Norwegian breeding birds stay in Norway if the weather is mild and berry crop is good. Thus the numbers seen in Pembrokeshire can vary considerably.

See Fieldfare 1994 for more detailed information.

Data from BirdTrack: this graph shows the numbers of records on the Pembrokeshire mainland only. As Skomer and Skokholm are not occupied in winter, including their records makes it look as though the species is primarily migrating through. Island records do, however, slightly extend the season, eg. with singles recorded on Skokholm on 10 and 13 June 1980, and then from mid-September in some years.

During the winter, fieldfares can be found across the county, often in small numbers, but occasionally in flocks of 50-100. The largest flock recorded in recent years was of 1,700 that passed over Skomer on 2 March 2018.

This map was produced by the West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre using data collected between November and February for the BTO Atlas 2007-11, with additional data collected in 2011-12 winter to fill gaps in coverage.

Ringing recoveries

Several ringed as nestlings in Norway and Finland have been recovered in Wales, and one ringed in Wales was found in Sweden in the breeding season. The following birds were all recovered in Pembrokeshire:

RingedRecovered
Adult female, 14-11-1983. Noordeinde, Oldebroek: 52°31’N 5°52’E (Gelderland) The NetherlandsDead, 22-02-1986. Haverfordwest.
Nestling, 20-06-1953. Fana: 60°19’N 5°27’E (Hordaland) NorwayDead, 05-03-1956. Waterston, Milford Haven
Nestling, 06-06-1963. Madekoski, near Oulujoki: 64°57’N 25°37’E (Oulu) FinlandDead (storm) 02-11-1964 South Bishop Lighthouse  2,283km   WSW

Annie Haycock (BBS & WeBS local organiser)

References:

BALMER D, GILLINGS S, CAFFREY B, SWANN B, DOWNIE I, FULLER R. 2014. Bird Atlas 2007-11: The Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland.  HarperCollins.  UK

HBW – Handbook of the Birds of the World

LACK P. 1986.  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland, T & A. D. Poyser, London

LOVEGROVE R, WILLIAMS G, WILLIAMS I. 1994.  Birds in Wales. T & A. D. Poyser, London

Pembrokeshire Bird Reports

WERNHAM. C, TOMS. M, MARCHANT. J, CLARK. J, SIRIWARDENA. G, BAILLIE. S. 2002. The Migration Atlas, Movements of the birds of Britain and Ireland, T & A. D. Poyser, London

More about the Fieldfare in Pembrokeshire

Fieldfare – 1994

Turdus pilaris – SOCAN EIRA – Winter visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in July and August

Fieldfares normally arrive in Pembrokeshire from the middle of October to late November, with occasional earlier birds occurring from 14 September onwards. Large numbers pass though, many stopping to feed during the day and staying into December in years when the berry crop is heavy. Most movement is probably nocturnal; Fieldfares are seldom heard calling from the night sky but they have been noted at the lantern of the South Bishop lighthouse. Coastal falls at well-watched localities indicate variable passage the previous night. There is also an occasional marked diurnal passage, as when about 1,000 came in off the sea from the north and north-east at Strumble Head on the morning of 2 November 1986, to join about 2,000 others that had piled up in the fields there. A party of about 750 departed north-westwards towards Ireland at dusk.

Fieldfares are normally well distributed across the wet pastures of Pembrokeshire during the winter, sometimes forming large roosts. For example, about 4,000 roosted in sitka spruce at Pantmaenog Forest in February 1984. Hard weather brings further large numbers in to the county, many of which pass on, but prolonged severe weather can cause considerable mortality.

Most Fieldfares depart in March and early April, when there is also a through passage. Fieldfares have been noted at the lantern of the Smalls lighthouse at this period. Some linger into May or even beyond, the latest records being 31 May and, at Skokholm, a single bird on 10 and 13 June 1980.

Donovan J.W. & Rees G.H (1994), Birds of Pembrokeshire

More about the Fieldfare in Pembrokeshire

Fieldfare – 1980s winter

Turdus pilaris – SOCAN EIRA – Winter visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in July and August

The BTO winter atlas showed that Fieldfares were present in most 10km squares during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84.   

The darker the colour, the higher the relative total count for each 10km square.  The darkest blue represents over 500 birds.

However, it should be noted that the figures show a high correlation with the number of recording cards returned (therefore related to recording effort) for each 10km square. 

Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007

Data collected by volunteers for the BTO. Lack, P. 1986 Atlas of wintering birds in Britain and Ireland. T & A.D. Poyser.

More about the Fieldfare in Pembrokeshire

Fieldfare – 1894

Turdus pilaris – A common winter visitor.

In severe weather great numbers of Fieldfares used to appear in our neighbourhood. They seemed to be quite as susceptible to the cold as the Redwings. One very long-protracted frost, when the ground was deeply covered with snow, we caught and brought numbers of the starving birds into our kitchen; but it was all in vain we offered them various kinds of food; none of them ever survived longer than a fortnight.

Flocks of Fieldfares have remained with us until the end of April, when they were much tamer than they were during the winter, and, collecting on the tops of the trees, would keep up a not unpleasing chattering. We consider that in the north of the county Fieldfares were every winter more plentiful than Redwings, the mountain character of the district being unsuited to the latter birds.

Mathew M.A. 1894, Birds of Pembrokeshire and its Islands

More about the Fieldfare in Pembrokeshire

Fieldfare

Turdus pilaris – SOCAN EIRA – Winter visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in July and August

Fieldfare – 2020

Turdus pilaris – SOCAN EIRA – Winter visitor and passage migrant. The Fieldfare breeds across Iceland, much of northern and central Europe, and east to central Siberia and northwest China. Occasionally, it has bred in Scotland. Some fieldfares arrive in Pembrokeshire in mid-September, but the main arrival is at the beginning of October (week 41).   […]

Fieldfare – 1994

Turdus pilaris – SOCAN EIRA – Winter visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in July and August Fieldfares normally arrive in Pembrokeshire from the middle of October to late November, with occasional earlier birds occurring from 14 September onwards. Large numbers pass though, many stopping to feed during the day and staying into December in years when […]

Fieldfare – 1980s winter

Turdus pilaris – SOCAN EIRA – Winter visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in July and August The BTO winter atlas showed that Fieldfares were present in most 10km squares during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84.    The darker the colour, the higher the relative total count for each 10km square.  The darkest blue represents over 500 birds. […]

Fieldfare – 1949

Species account from the Birds of Pembrokeshire, 1949, by Lockley, Ingram and Salmon.

Fieldfare – 1894

Turdus pilaris – A common winter visitor. In severe weather great numbers of Fieldfares used to appear in our neighbourhood. They seemed to be quite as susceptible to the cold as the Redwings. One very long-protracted frost, when the ground was deeply covered with snow, we caught and brought numbers of the starving birds into […]