<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Why the song thrush is the sound of Spring in Lancashire

PUBLISHED: 00:00 12 January 2018 | UPDATED: 22:20 11 February 2018

Redwing tucking into berries by Alan Price

Redwing tucking into berries by Alan Price

not Archant

Spring is not too far off and that’s the time when the birds start getting noisier in our woodlands. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright investigates a couple of the stars of the Dawn Chorus.

The colourful fieldfare will be around until spring by Darin Smith The colourful fieldfare will be around until spring by Darin Smith

There is something really special about seeing a thrush sitting on a stone garden post as you wander along a country lane and winter begins to vanish behind you.

Like most birds, you will probably hear the song thrush more than you see it with its beautiful, repeating song bounding out of the trees as they start showing signs of greenery.

I spotted one sitting on the post of Brinscall Hall last year, singing its heart out and probably making the relaxation of the yoga group inside the hall a lot easier. These birds often scoot around the woods at Wheelton Plantation, near Chorley.

And at Mere Sands Wood, our nature reserve in Rufford, thrush numbers have climbed as our staff and volunteers have happily coppiced the woodland. Since late summer they have worked their way through the scrub to leave room for more winter berries.

This involved the planting thousands of hawthorns and blackthorns in a hedgerow ringing the site. Coppicing and pruning rowans have helped to stimulate berry production. Then the gang planted hundreds of new rowans, crab apples and holly.

Areas of standing dead wood, log piles and dead hedges are havens for insects and grubs providing food for the birds. Clearing rhododendron or bramble allows herbaceous vegetation to grow and this harbours slugs, snails and caterpillars.

The mistle thrush may appear in your garden by Amy Lewis The mistle thrush may appear in your garden by Amy Lewis

The song thrush is a songbird, commonly found in parks and gardens, woodland and scrub. While some of the thrush family you will have seen over winter are from colder countries, the majority are resident in Lancashire.

According to the Lancashire Bird Atlas, song thrushes have enjoyed a small resurgence in the 21st century. Records show that there are an estimated 6,000 pairs in the county.

The song thrush is a familiar bird, brown above, with a white belly covered in black, drop-shaped spots. It is smaller and a warmer brown than the mistle thrush.

The mistle thrush got its name from its love of mistletoe. It enjoys the sticky berries and will guard a berry-laden tree from any would-be thieves. It also helps mistletoe to thrive by wiping its bill on the tree bark to remove sticky residue and accidentally planting the seeds.

It is pale greyish-brown above, with a white belly covered in round, black spots. Numbers in the region have remained stable with many breeding in urban parts of Merseyside.

Farmland birds like the redwing and fieldfare are members of the thrush family, you will see them in local fields in large flocks particularly in winter.

A song thrush with its dinner by Peter Smith A song thrush with its dinner by Peter Smith

The redwing is a small thrush which visits the UK in the winter to feast on berry-laden bushes in hedgerows, woodland, parks and gardens. You can hear them on clear evenings with their ‘tseep’ call overhead.

They are dark brown above and white below, with a black-streaked breast and orange-red flanks and underwing. Redwings have a very smart face pattern, with a white eyebrow stripe and dark brown cheeks. They often mix in groups with the fieldfare, another winter visitor, and these groups can be as big as 200 as they raid fields for food.

The fieldfare, which visits the UK in winter, is large with a chestnut-brown back, and yellowy breast streaked with black, a black tail, dark wings and pale grey rump and head. You may be lucky enough to see them in your garden if there is snow on the ground and food is scarce.

Our most common thrush is the blackbird, seen in most gardens. Its song will be one of the first you hear on a spring morning. The warmer weather is just around the corner.

 

Volunteer Co-ordinator Catherine Haddon Volunteer Co-ordinator Catherine Haddon

My nature moment

As Volunteer Co-ordinator at The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside Catherine Haddon has many nature moments while she is out and about.

Her most recent? Catherine said: ‘I was arriving at Mere Sands Wood for the Big Badgers Day Out (for our children’s Watch clubs) when a beautiful thrush flew along in front of my car as though it was leading the way to the reserve.’

Catherine added: ‘I have the wonderful job of talking to lots of lovely people who are keen to give some of their time to The Wildlife Trust. It is fantastic to be able to help people to find volunteering opportunities that enable them to not only improve their lives but make a difference for our wildlife too.’

There are so many benefits attached to volunteering from the feel good factor of doing something worthwhile to making new friends and being part of a team. If you are interested in volunteering for the Wildlife Trust go to www.lancswt.org.uk/volunteer or call Catherine on 01772 324129.

More from Out & About

When photographer Emma Campbell fell in love with Lakeland’s fell ponies she decided to raise their profile with a special project.

Read more
Equestrian photography
Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Our walking guide John Lenehan takes us on a towpath where you can see one of Lancashire’s great engineering feats.

Read more
Canals Chorley
Monday, April 9, 2018

A selection of walks in and around Bowland for outdoor types who like to end their hike on a high note – with some great food and drink.

Read more
Monday, April 9, 2018

From specialist soap to awarding winning ale, Staveley is proving to be a magnet for small businesses and visitors

Read more
Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The joy of spotting owls is described by The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright who tells us where to find them and how to identify these elusive creatures.

Read more
Monday, April 2, 2018

It stretches the length of the Liverpool suburb, and over the years has hosted many shops and businesses. Rebekka O’Grady chats to those who currently call it home

Read more
Liverpool
Thursday, March 22, 2018

Spring has sprung, so it's time to make the most of the beautiful Lakeland scenery. Here's our top ideas for days out this spring, whether you want to pull on your walking boots or take a day out with the children

Read more
Spring
Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A couple in Euxton have managed to create a beautiful garden packed with plants and a sense of humour

Read more
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The pretty village of Barley sits in the shadow of Pendle Hill but John Lenehan chooses a gentler route.

Read more
Ribble Valley Walks Pendle Hill
Monday, March 12, 2018

Business mixes easily with pleasure in the busy market town of Clitheroe, as Mairead Mahon and Kirsty Thompson discovered.

Read more
Clitheroe
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Lake Windermere is over 10 miles long and is surrounded by a several beautiful fells, we pick some of our favourite walks that are ideal for anyone visiting the area.

Read more
Windermere Lake District Walks
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

If you ever wondered what happens to the cash supermarkets charge for carriers, then pop along to Lytham Hall. Linda Viney reports

Read more
Lytham
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Martin Pilkington reports on a Lancashire town that has confounded the pessimists.

Read more
Bury
Monday, March 5, 2018

It’s another fine town in old Lancashire but its connection with the world’s most famous comedy duo make it special. Mike Glover reports.

Read more
Ulverston
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter


Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search