Winterwatch episode 3 2020: Live from their base in the heart of the Cairngorms, Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Gillian Burke and Iolo Williams explore the magic of winter.
There is incredible science explaining why ducks don’t die from the cold, a hidden world of overwintering insects, minibeasts captured on camera by a passionate amateur photographer and the mass spectacle of 30,000 redwings roosting in a remote wood in Lancashire’s beautiful Ribble Valley in Lancashire.
Winterwatch episode 3 2020
This species was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema naturae in 1758 under its current scientific name. The English name derives from the bird’s red underwing. It is not closely related to the red-winged blackbird, a North American species sometimes nicknamed “redwing”, which is an icterid, not a thrush. The binomial name derives from the Latin words turdus, “thrush”, and ile “flank”.
About 65 species of medium to large thrushes are in the genus Turdus, characterised by rounded heads, longish, pointed wings, and usually melodious songs. Although two European thrushes, the song thrush and mistle thrush, are early offshoots from the Eurasian lineage of Turdus thrushes after they spread north from Africa, the redwing is descended from ancestors that had colonised the Caribbean islands from Africa and subsequently reached Europe from there.
It is 20–24 cm long with a wingspan of 33–34.5 cm and a weight of 50–75 g. The sexes are similar, with plain brown backs and with dark brown spots on the white underparts. The most striking identification features are the red flanks and underwing, and the creamy white stripe above the eye. Adults moult between June and September, which means that some start to replace their flight feathers while still feeding young.
The male has a varied short song, and a whistling flight call.
Ribble Valley is a local government district with borough status within the non-metropolitan county of Lancashire, England. The total population of the non-metropolitan district at the 2011 Census was 57,132. Its council is based in Clitheroe. Other places include Whalley, Longridge and Ribchester. The area is so called due to the River Ribble which flows in its final stages towards its estuary near Preston. The area is popular with tourists who enjoy the area’s natural unspoilt beauty, much of which lies within the Forest of Bowland.