Garden News

Song Thrushes - 5 May 2017

Song thrushSong thrushes are in full voice all over the Gardens. Their fluty whistle, repeating each phrase twice, can be heard ringing out where they sing from high perches, sometimes in the open, sometimes concealed. In the early mornings they can be seen foraging on the lawns for worms or picking over leaves looking for snails on which to feed their growing broods. Later in the day you are more likely to encounter them in shady spots along the paths, where they quickly make for cover when disturbed. They are one of two species of thrush found in the Gardens; the other is the Mistle thrush, a larger, greyer and more upright bird with bigger and more prominent  spots on its breast.

P1240122Song thrushes are known for their liking for snails. In order to extract their prey they will bash the snail against some hard object to break them apart. Sometimes they find a stone, known as an anvil, to which they repeatedly take their prey, resulting in a mass of broken empty shells lying around. I recently found one of these, not at Exbury - the first I had ever seen.

Song thrushes have been declining in recent years so it is really good that the population at Exbury seems to be thriving.

‘A truly fantastic day out. My wife and I were bowled over by the amazing spring colours of rhododendrons and azaleas and there was literally colour everywhere. There are beautiful areas to walk through as well as places to sit. We took a picnic in the hope of being able to sit by one of the ponds and were not disappointed – the reflections were as spectacular as the real thing! The next thing we want to do is return in the autumn to see the colours change as it must be beautiful’

David Parker, Christchurch

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