This winter and next, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is carrying out further research into the habits of the thrush family that winter (or live year-round) in the UK. That means Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare, Redwing and Ring Ouzel.
At the simple level, they ask us to record any of these birds we see on our winter walks. Extra details of their activity (e.g. eating) and the habitats they are using can be entered on Birdtrack. At a more structured level they have suggested we take a regular walk we like to do, mark the route on a map online, and record more details about the thrushes we see when walking it. They suggest anyone that does the Breeding Bird Survey might like to use their normal route for the winter, for a change. These structured walks could be done once a month or so.
So I’ve selected two of my Breeding Bird Survey walks, extending them a little to include more useful habitat, in fact one of them starts where I regularly see Fieldfares in winter. I missed out the one on the coast because I don’t want to feel committed to going there in the depths of winter (it’s an hour’s drive). Although it’s actually a really nice place to walk in winter, provided the wind isn’t too cold! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a thrush there, though. Which may be because it’s been a long time since I’ve done a winter walk there. Come to think of it, I would have covered it for the first year of Bird Atlas, five years ago. I should check my records and maybe take a trip over there in deepest November or December!
If you’re interested in finding out more about this survey, and maybe taking part, have a look at this blog post at the BTO website.