Friday, December 21, 2018

A Tale Of Two Fieldfares

We don’t ring too many Fieldfares but on Friday came news of a Fieldfare that Andy and I ringed up at Oakenclough, Lancashire on the morning of 1st November 2017.

“The morning followed the same pattern as the last two occasions here. There was a dawn arrival of thrushes from the south east and quickly leaving in a westerly direction that lasted in all about 40 minutes. This was followed once again by a slow morning of odds and ends of thrushes, a lack of finches and just 26 birds ringed. Totals captured: 9 Redwing, 3 Fieldfare, 4 Goldcrest, 3 Goldfinch, 3 Blue Tit, 2 Coal Tit, 1 Blackbird, 1 Chaffinch. In all we counted approximately 80 Redwings, 40 Fieldfares and 5/6 Blackbirds.” 

The first winter male Fieldfare was given ring number LC94559. We released it so it could continue its onward migration south and over the English Channel, and thence to the Southern Europe. 


Then on Friday came details of the same bird’s death 406 days later. It was found “Freshly dead - unidentified thrush within about a week of 12 December 2018 – Hunted” at Val d'Ornain, Meuse, France some 766 km from Oakenclough. 

Fieldfare - Oakenclough to Meuse, France 

So our Fieldfare probably spent its first winter in the same region of France, returned to breed in Scandinavia during the summer of 2018, and was then killed during early winter of 2018. 

“Fieldfares are hunted and trapped in large numbers over much of their continental autumn and winter range. 58% of all deaths of known cause were deliberately taken by man. The principal countries involved have been France and Italy.” BTO Migration Atlas. 

It’s a sad end for a very beautiful bird. 

Now here’s news of a different Fieldfare that flew in the wrong direction and ended up in British Columbia. 

From the The Vancouver Sun 19th December 2018. 

SALMON ARM - A wayward bird seems to have taken a fancy to Salmon Arm. 

A Fieldfare, spotted only once before in B.C., was still foraging in the company of American Robins on Tuesday, three days after being sighted in the town’s annual Christmas bird count. 

“He’s still around, which is quite remarkable,” said Roger Beardmore, who first photographed the Fieldfare. 

Fieldfare - Roger Beardmore 

“It’s good that he’s staying put, because it’s given a lot more people the chance to see him,” Beardmore said. 

The bird was viewed by dozens of people on Tuesday near the corner of Krick Road and Kernaghan Road. 

So, how rare is a Fieldfare? Between 1991 and 2015, only one Fieldfare was reported in the United States, according to eBird. 

The bird breeds in the eastern part of Russia, but migrates toward Western Europe. Speculation among birders is the Salmon Arm Fieldfare got blown off course by a big storm and found his way down the Alaska-B.C. coast. A Fieldfare was spotted in B.C. only once before, in December 2003, near Pitt Meadows. 

Beardmore and his wife Ann were participating in the Christmas bird count when they spotted a bird they didn't recognize feeding on mountain ash berries. An amateur photographer, Beardmore used a high-quality long lens to get excellent pictures of the bird, which was later confirmed to be a Fieldfare. 

 Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada

“Although he’s a long way from home, he seems to be in excellent health,” Beardmore said.

Linking today to Anni's Birding and Eileen's Saturday Blog.


David Gascoigne said...

I hope the bold Frenchman feels good after shooting his bird. You are always anxious to receive news of the birds you have banded, but not as a result of this kind of primordialism. We promise not to do the same thing to the Fieldfare that found its way to British Columbia
Incidentally, Phil, we are starting to get tracking data on some of the Barn Swallows we radio tracked, with the farthest news so far received from the Colombia/Panama border. All the best to you and Sue for the holidays. David

eileeninmd said...

The Fieldfare is a beauty, it is great the birders in B.C. spotted this rare bird for their area. It is sad people are not able to just enjoy seeing the birds, why hunt such a small bird? It can not be for food? Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your day and weekend. I want to thank you for all the visits and comments on my blog this past year. I am looking forward to visiting your blog in 2019. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Rhodesia said...

I have never seen a thrush of any kind in France which I think I may have mentioned before. Sadly they are supposed to be a delicacy though I have never seen them on the menu!!!! So sad, and really how much of a meal is a thrush? 😒😒 Have a good Christmas, Diane

Jenn Jilks said...

It's a lovely bird! My heart dropped when I read of its demise. I banded birds once, during Teacher's College! (1981!)
That's amazing, the bird in B.C.!

Anni said...

I remember my older brother shooting a wild canary with his new B B gun he got for Christmas. My father, when he found out could've easily beat my brother to a pulp if my mom didn't stop him. He was grounded for a long time & had his gift taken from him. Didn't bring the bird back. This kind of story always breaks my heart.

On the other hand, those in B.C. are a chosen few who were dazzled by one of your birds...awesome.

Thanks so much for sharing your post & beautiful birds with us at I'd Rather B Birdin this week.

Anni said...

Ps...Phil & family...

Have yourself a MERRY Christmas & thanks for the holiday greeting you left for me!!

Angie said...

Phil - gray and silver linings to the clouds …

I have enjoyed getting to know you better this year, and I look forward to more beautiful bird pictures in 2019. Happy Christmas to you!

Stewart M said...

What a great bird and what a sad story. Re-traps often tell a much better tale.

Hope you have a great Christmas - Stewart M - Melbourne

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Why on earth would people hunt fieldfares? I mean I don’t really understand why anyone who has any other source of food hunts at all, but even if I understood hunting I can’t see why this little guy. Aren’t song birds protected in those countries. I guess I just learned something.

Lowcarb team member said...

What a lovely bird and so sad what happened.
Better news on the sighting by Roger Beardmore though.

All the best Jan

Mary Cromer said...

The Fieldfares are always such a favorite when you share them. Love the image of the one with the fruit berries!
BTW, I still got the WebRoot WARNING for your blog only...I just went ahead and bypassed it, but I am still wondering why. WebRoot is truly a wonderful security to our computers now several year and this is a first. Oh well. ;)

damo0666 said...

I've just spotted a fieldfare in my garden, I've never ever seen one of these birds before and I had to look online so I could identify it

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