They are a large smart looking thrush with their combination of brown back, grey head and black-spotted amber breast. When you spend quite a bit of time with these birds you notice there is quite a bit of variation in patterning with the darker coloured birds tending to be the most striking in photographs.
The unusual weather this year of a prolonged cold spring and a warm summer seemed to provide very good conditions for berry growth and by the early autumn the trees were heavily laden and ready for the winter thrush invasion. Given the glut of berries available it took a while for the birds to arrive at the site which I usually visit to photograph them. However, when they did arrive it was en mass with a big flock of around 500 birds.
Fieldfare are quite a wary species and the site I visit is made slight frustrating as there is a long row of Rowan trees which the birds favour although this can only be accessed from one side. The trees never really get the low winter sun on them properly, and the majority of the day they are back lit with a bit of side lighting in the late afternoon. If only the landscape architect who designed the planting scheme had put them the other side of the road, it would have made the task for the photographer so much easier. However, the trees do attract good numbers of birds and it is just a question of looking for other nearby opportunities for for photographing them.
Eating berries makes the birds thirsty and by positioning myself next to a puddle provided some opportunities to capture some images of the birds drinking.
Of course as with any bird photography you often get a bonus or two along with your target species. During this session it was a striking male Bullfinch which was also taking advantage of the free berry feast.