At 7.10 am it was barely light, but from high in a cherry tree, easily piercing the double glazing of my living room window, a Mistle thrush exuberantly proclaimed his return. He sang long and loud for at least the next hour before crossing the building to announce his presence from the woodland edge behind us. I was out for most of the day, but arriving home at 5 pm, again in the fading light, he was back in the same place reinforcing his presence.
I could barely see him, so much to dark to photograph him, so the photograph is one from last year that I took of a bird in the neighbouring tree that arrived here on a similar date and behaved in a very similar way. I would like to believe it was the same bird returning to reclaim his breeding territory, especially as the Mistle thrush has moved from the amber list to red-listed status as a bird of conservation concern, with 170,000 breeding territories recorded.
Mistle thrushes are early nesters and many nests are built in late February. typically they favour sites in woodland as high as 30ft up on the top of a snapped-off tree. Each pair raises two or occasionally three broods and they may sometimes use the same nest. To my knowledge at least one pair bred successfully here on Bryn Euryn last year and similarly the previous year, so this is clearly a well-established breeding site – fingers crossed for this year too.
Read more about the Mistle thrush here.
I’m happy to say he’s still around, not as exuberant as he was that first day but still singing nearby, particularly in the late afternoon. I’m pleased to hear you have thrushes, resident numbers are boosted by migrant birds in the winter and redwings that spent the winter in Spain and southern Europe head back north in the spring. Enjoy them!
Am so glad you have seen his return and hope the youngster will survive to help boost numbers. It is tragic this decline. We think we have seen some thrushes here and a redwing. Maybe they’ll stay, it’s a plentiful woodland here for birds.
Wow, that is early and what an unlikely spot to choose, but what the heck if it boosted their numbers! Dunnock have been singing here for a while, lovely little song. Sounds like a wonderful trip, looking forward to reading about your exploits.
Paul Seligman said:
One year a pair of Mistle Thrushes built an early nest near our new offices in Cardiff Bay, under a structure like a bike shelter. The chicks fledged on Feb 8th and I filmed them with their parents on the grass verges of the offices.
I returned home yesterday from a month away yesterday to hear Dunnock singing at full blast. Two days before I was filming a rufous Hornero building a nest in Argentina, after our trip to Antarctica where we filmed shags and penguins doing the same.
Lots of stuff to share when I catch up with life!
Thank you for comments Glenys, I couldn’t agree more about our good fortune to live here. Do you think you may have heard the thrush yesterday? You can’t miss his song, it’s much louder than everything else’s and goes on for ages. On the Bryn you often hear it first from round about the bottom of the steps up to the house. They can be tricky to spot though. PS If you see a woman with a camera meandering around randomly or chasing butterflies it’ll probably be me, so please say hello!
Glenys Viveiros said:
Thank you for these lovely posts Theresa, I was up the Bryn yesterday and the birdsong was beautiful, we are so lucky to live in such a beautiful area.
This is so lovely Theresa, an hours early morning song must have been so exhilarating to hear. We haven’t seen a Mistle Thrush at all this year and all of last year only two were seen in our garden. I hope you have a pair that nest and breed, red status is alarming for this beautiful bird.
Thank you Julie, it was a brilliant start to the day and hopefully he’ll be back for repeat performances. It’s still quite early in the season, so hopefully you may get a sighting, or better still a hearing anytime now. If you had sightings last year it sounds like you have a territory nearby, so fingers crossed!
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