Fieldfare Encounter

Much of the filming I have done over the last few years involves the crew putting itself in a likely area for what you could describe as a natural wildlife encounter. Earlier this week we travelled up Gospel Pass past Llanthony Abbey on the eastern edge of the Brecon Beacons. Over the brow down towards Hay there is a left hand turn that takes you along some narrow, little used lanes.

We were only looking for a pleasant spot to stop and have a bite to eat after having filmed blackbirds and nuthatches feeding in a churchyard yew tree. As we drove out from some trees onto open common land it was obvious that the hawthorn bushes were alive with fieldfare. They were feeding voraciously. Under such circumstances it was easy to assume that this huge flock of beautiful thrushes had just arrived from Scandinavia, starving hungry. The thought is a warming one. The birds were relatively approachable and we filmed a nice sequence. As the autumn progresses I think it is true that fieldfare become less approachable, but why should that be? In our cossetted lives it is easy to forget that these birds are eating for survival and that feeding is a priority that sometimes overrides flying to a position of greater safety.

Eventually the chattering flock swirled away en-masse leaving me to finish a cup of tea which was by then rather cold. Sometimes you have to prioritise being a wildlife cameraman over drinking tea.