Redwing eating a Holly berry.

Throwback Thursday travels back to Cheshire, England in the mid 1980s.

The Redwing (Turdus iliacus) is a member of the Thrush family. They are winter visitors to Britain arriving in the autumn after breeding in northern regions of Europe and Asia. Wintering birds sometimes form loose flocks numbering up to 200 birds but I seem to remember this being a solitary bird. It’s feeding on a berry of a Holly (Ilex aquifolium) tree.

The photo was taken from a bedroom window so I was slightly higher than the bird but not enough for the angle to look odd. It was used in a field guide to garden wildlife and it was taken in a garden unlike some of my other photos used in the book.

A Redwing in a Holly tree.

Whooper Swan at sunset.

Throwback Thursday travels back to Martin Mere Wetland Centre, Lancashire, England in the early 1990s.

I had planned on being at this location for sunset after working out roughly where the sun would set earlier in the day. I had been in the same hide (blind) earlier in the day when the sun was behind it taking shots of the various species feeding. I may have even photographed this particular bird.

A Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) at sunset.

Sunset Whooper Swan.

Bohemian Waxwing at -30°C.

Throwback Thursday is a follow-up of sorts to yesterdays Wordless Wednesday post. Here’s a Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) at -30°C.

Both birds were photographed in Saskatchewan, Canada in the winter. I’m always impressed by the way small birds survive winter temperatures.

Nowadays some digital cameras make a big deal about a freezeproof rating of -10°C. I find that rather humourous having shot film at -40°C and digital at -20°C.

I found a small flock of Bohemian Waxwings feeding along a fence line one morning. I briefly considered putting up a portable hide (blind) until I thought about how hard it would be to peg down given how frozen the field would be. In the end I followed them along the fence line for a while before leaving them to finish stripping the berries.

A Bohemian Waxwing at -30°C.

 

An autumn Pine Siskin.

One from the archives, taken in Saskatchewan, Canada in the 1990s. The Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus) looks fluffed up against the cold but it will get a lot colder in the winter.

Pine Siskins can survive very low temperatures. Their metabolic rate is 40% higher than typical for songbirds of their size. In extreme cold they can increase their metabolic rate up to five times normal.

This is my favourite Pine Siskin shot from Saskatchewan although I can’t explain why. The bird isn’t doing anything and is partially obscured by a branch. Maybe it’s the colour combination of the bird and the autumn leaves.

An autumn Pine Siskin.

Preening in the shallows.

Throwback Thursday travels back to Hurleston Reservoir, Cheshire, England in the 1990s.

A group of Black-headed Gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) in winter plumage standing in a shallow section of the reservoir. I noticed that a surprising number of the birds were taking the opportunity to preen while standing in the water.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts about species having their common English names or their scientific names changed after DNA testing. In this case the scientific name has been changed since the photo was taken and captioned. So many species have had a name changed that these days l Google a species before I write a blog post or caption photos.

Winter plumage Black-headed Gulls.