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Home » Learning About » Information and Resources » Wildlife » Seasonal Wildlife » Winter Migrants » Continental Travellers

Winter Visitors from Eastern Europe

When icy winds blast the hills and forests of Eastern Europe and Russia it is not only the larger bird species that make long journeys to warmer lands. Smaller birds make this hazardous journey too. Among the visitors to Pembrokeshire are two members of the thrush family, the redwing and the fieldfare. 

The Redwing is an attractive bird. Though largely grey-brown it has a distinctive white stripe above its eye and orangey flashes on each side and under its wings. Redwings arrive in early winter in large flocks. They are fairly fast moving, and easily put to flight if unsettled. They feed mostly on open fields, searching for worms and invertebrates, but will also feast on fruit and berries. 

Slightly larger than the redwing, the fieldfare has a grey head, chestnut back and pale speckled breast. It also appears in early winter in large flocks. Fieldfares are often seen feasting in trees and bushes on fruits and berries. They have a chattering call, and can be heard calling at night when migrating.