Some of the recent highlights are as follows:
- Two Chiffchaffs were heard calling on 29 September - a first for Hilly Fields since the Bird Champion scheme began. Probably a rest stop on their migratory journey, although an increasing number of these warblers are over-wintering in the UK
- Five Mistle Thrushes were seen on 10 October in the line of trees leading down to Hilly Fields Crescent
- A Blackcap was spotted in the trees bordering Vicars Hill on 26 October. These are still uncommon on HF although one was heard singing in the wood during our dawn chorus walk back in May
- Long-tailed Tits - a flock of about 12 seen in the trees bordering Vicars Hill on 26 October. Lovely birds if you can get a close-up view
- Great Spotted Woodpecker - a clear eye-level view of one on 26 October, hammering away at the trunk of a tree near the playground. The GSW has an unmistakeable combination of black, white and red colours and a bouncy flight
- Goldfinches - a flock of about 16 is usually seen and heard in the trees around Prendergast School
What we haven't seen yet are any Redwings, although they've been pouring into the country from Scandinavia since mid-October. Members of the thrush family, Redwings can be identified by a clear white stripe along the side of the head and, believe it or not, by a touch of red under the wing. They've turned up for the last three winters on Hilly Fields with as many as 40 counted in January 2010. If you see any, please let us know via the comments below.