Redwings, Fieldfares and Blackbirds have been arriving for 3 weeks now from Scandinavia and will continue to a greater or lesser extent up to Christmas. Look for them mainly in the mornings flying west or southwest. Some will continue over to Ireland and others will stay here with us in Northumberland to gorge on berries.
A flock of between 500 to 600 Redpolls were feeding on Silver Birch seed around the edge of Slaley forest. Some showed characteristics of the Northern European race of Redpoll.
As well as these European arrivals, keep a look out for our Jays commuting to and from the conifer plantations ie. Slaley, Dukesfield and Kellas forests to the lower broadleaved woodlands or hedgerows of Oak and Beech trees to forage for their big seeds. Jays will return with up to nine acorns in their gullet and sometimes have one in their mouth for good measure! This valuable bounty will be hidden one to four at a time in holes in the ground.
Jays are the most colourful of the crow family and can remember the precise position of hundreds of these winter stashes. When the days are short and cold, and food is scarce, these life-saving stores of energy will be unearthed and feasted on.
A Raven was seen soaring over the north side of Slaley forest on November 7th and 5 Waxwings flew over the same day.