Blog Post: Good weather for ducks, but has the tide turned?

Autumn days ahead Warmer and wetter weather has been with us for some time recently, the ducks on the lake have had a whale of a time. Is this all part of climate change? It's two of the key things predicted to happen as climate change advances. As World leaders meet at COP26 to sign up to climate change goals, we hope it's not too late. We have already noticed one or two changes. Autumn is a time of great migration within the birding world, but some of the birds we would now be expecting to see in large numbers are not yet here. Redwing and fieldfare , are both over-wintering thrushes, flying in from Scandanavia. Numbers of arrivals are down at the time of writing. Redwings are identifiable from song thrushes as they have a bright eye stripe and as their name suggests they have red around their wing. Not on the back of their wings but underneath their wings, which you can see even when their wings are down and along their flank. They forage for berries during the day and then roost together in trees at night. Fieldfare on the other hand are a much larger thrush, having a red-brown back (mantle) and grey crown and nape. They have heavily spotted breasts with a rusty yellow tinge. They also forage on fruit from trees as well as fallen fruit, and can also been seen foraging on open fields and grassy areas. The usual influx of fieldfare has not yet occurred. Many people are also noticing that their usual garden robin has not yet made an appearance and numbers of blackbirds, thrushes and other birds that usually visit the garden are also down. The most likely cause of this delay is likely to be the warmer, wetter and windy weather we have recently experienced. Many of the birds we see feeding in our gardens in autumn are often continental birds, some coming from as far away as Russia. Many of "our" summer birds make their way southwards in autumn, they may still be here. Cold, harsh conditions prompt the birds to commence their journey, whilst warmer conditions will keep them put especially if there is a remaining food source. Whether there will be an impact on them because of their late arrival to our shores is not yet known. However what is known is that when these birds do arrive they will benefit from supplementary garden feeding. Blackbirds , thrushes and robins will frequently head towards gardens and parks. A mix of seeds, suet and mealworms will attract a large variety of birds. During the winter months it is not unknown for great spotted woodpeckers , nuthatches , goldcrests and finches to regularly visit gardens for supplementary bird food. In other bird news the Ribble estuary region will expect to host up to 10,000 pink footed geese over winter and around 1000 - 1,500 black tailed godwits . The godwits of late do seem to be spreading themselves a little more and finding new local areas to spend the winter in, so it doesn't mean they're not around. We look forward to seeing you soon - and don't forget to pop into the shop and grab your festive goodies, with our wrapping paper and crackers, you can have yourselves a "greener" Christmas (we also have a great selection of cards, decorations, calendars and gifts) and do stock up on bird food for those incoming garden birds that will eventually arrive. And if you are thinking about buying a new pair of binoculars or a telescope, why not come to our Binocular and Telescope Open Weekend on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 November - our friendly, knowledgeable team will be happy to answer all your questions and help you find the perfect optical gear to suit your requirements and budget. Jo Redwing photo: Ben Andrew RSPB-images Fieldfare photo: Ian Francis RSPB-images Bird food and robin: Jo