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Fieldfares in Flight over Fullerton Down

February 2, 2014

Towards the end of November 2011 I took the road over Fullerton Down at dusk. I stopped by the Trig Point to admire views of Danebury Ring hillfort and Stockbridge Down. In the fading light, I became aware of clusters of birds flying intermittently overhead, as they flitted in their groups of three, six, a dozen from their temporary perches in branches or on telegraph wires, bearing their tidings.

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I guessed they were fieldfares, though I couldn’t be certain because they were silhouetted black against the sky, as they passed by, heading west to east in their dispersed bands, to gradually disappear from view. Not dissimilar to blackbirds or other thrushes, but with tuftier tails and a slightly more extravagant flourish of their wings. I tried to get a few pictures of them, but my frantic efforts to capture their course only resulted in one half-usable image.

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However, thanks to this blog, I can now positively identify the birds I saw as fieldfares, winter visitors, described here as ‘straggling, chuckling flocks that roam the UK’s countryside… a delightful and attractive part of the winter scene’.

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Reproduced on the cover of this ruinously expensive book is Stewart Edmondson’s painting, Return of the Fieldfares, my first glimpse of which took me back to Fullerton Down two-or-so years ago.

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