We thought we were done with the round of seasonal visitors, with Christmas and New Year all wrapped up and packed away for another year. And then today, sitting on the window-seat in the kitchen after lunch, we had a visitor we had never seen here before. A redwing.
Hanging over the fence from our neighbour's garden is this truly amazing tree (I'd love to know what it is, by the way). It's one of those marvellous plants that excels in every season. It is still covered in red berries - so beautiful in the snow - some of which I "borrowed" to decorate the berry-less holly tucked behind the picture frames this Christmas. There are so many berries on there, we were convinced that the birds didn't like them, but from the numbers of redwings we've seen today (and also thrushes and blackbirds) it seems that one family of birds at least are partial.
I wondered if these birds had a collective noun, as many species do, my favourite being a charm of goldfinches (with which we are indeed charmed in our garden thanks to a large clump of teasels), a parliament of owls (such pomposity and wisdom!) and an exultation of larks. Unfortunately I could find no collective noun here for redwings, but maybe to myself I will know them as a surprise of redwings.
Apologies for the rather less than sharp photos; the light was going and I didn't want to startle them with a flash.
Mark Hearld in Edinburgh
1 day ago