Friday, 14 October 2011

Billinge Hill - Fieldfares and Redwings flood in

8:00am - 9:45am

Fieldfare 1200 over S or SW in groups of up to 100.
Redwing 2200 over S or SW in groups of up to 200.
Lesser Redpoll 2 over S.
Skylark 50 over SW.
Meadow Pipit 50 over SW.
Swallow 1 over S.
Pink-footed Goose 80

There was obviously a big movement of Fieldfares and Redwings today. I had seen 3 flocks totalling over 300 birds from the car near Carr Mill, flying from the Billinge direction before I had even arrived at Billinge Hill, and these are not included in the totals above. I couldn't get out of the car quick enough when I arrived, there were so many birds going over.

Wave after wave of birds went over, all flying south or south west, in mostly mixed flocks of between 10 and 200 birds. Counting was quite difficult, the figures given are absolute minimums, I wouldn't be surprised if there were over 3000 Redwings and 2000 Fieldfares. By the end of my visit I could hear their calls overhead, but I was almost ignoring them as I searched for other things. How many I ignored I couldn't say.

The passage seemed to be slowing when I left, but as I sit here typing this blog entry, a flock of 80 Fieldfares have just flown over from the Billinge Hill direction, so perhaps there are more still to come. Tremendous to see visible migration like this in St Helens!

The photos aren't brilliant but it was a dull misty start to the day, and most of the action was early on, when it was very poor light for photography. At least they give an idea of the spectacle.

A mixed flock of Fieldfare and Redwings from the beacon.

Redwings (left) and Fieldfare (right) over Billinge Hill.


  1. Hi Colin,how long do these migrations last and what is the best time to see them?Do any come down into the fields?

  2. Fieldfares and Redwings are going over now for the next week or two probably. You really need to be there from dawn, for a couple of hours. After about 10am it has largely stopped. They are unpredictable though, somedays you may get thousands, others just a handful. Most of them keep going and don't land, but occasionally some will. You have more chance of seeing them on the ground later in the winter.


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