Autumn Robins

I would think that almost everyone in Europe is familiar with the Robin (Erithacus rubecula).  It’s beautiful song brightening up even the dullest winter’s day.  In the garden they can become fearless, looking for worms while you dig the plot, indeed with patience they can sometimes be persuaded to take food from your fingers.

Shy and elusive. Image taken in October 2016 in very dark woodland

However there is another side to the Robin.  In autumn many thousands will join other species and migrate across the North Sea to the UK from the Continent.  If conditions are right (wrong for the Robin) they will make landfall along the coast.  Patches of woodland can contain many birds, but they are shy and elusive.  Often all you hear is the high pitched tic tic tic alarm call, or catch a glimpse of something flitting about deep in cover.  When you are looking for rare migrants the Robin will often fool you, leading you on a merry dance until ID is clinched.  Eventually these birds will spread out to the rest of the Country.

So when you are in the garden this winter and ‘your’ Robin is serenading you from the trees ask yourself  “I wonder what language he is singing in?”.

15 thoughts on “Autumn Robins

    1. Thanks Deborah, the American Robin is a much bigger beast, I was lucky to see one several years ago they are a rare vagrant to the UK. The image is a touch soft due to shooting wide open and high iso but is the best I’ve got in an autumnal setting.

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  1. Based on pictures only (never had the pleasure of seeing one in person) I’ve always thought the European Robin looked more beautiful than our similar named American counterpart. The more orange and centralized coloring really sticks out especially in the great shot in the trees above. Thanks to your nudge to investigate, learned that the European was reclassified from the Thrush family to the Flycatcher species. Our American variety remains in the Thrush family… for now. Thanks for the bird post!

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    1. I always thought it strange the Robin was classed as a Thrush, although it has a slight similarity to say your Veery. Yes it is much more like the Flycatcher/Chats of the old world. I did see an American Robin here in the UK a few years back. Where it was found (on the east coast in north Lincolnshire, by some docks) would suggest ship assisted, though it was accepted on the British list. A very handsome bird, I wish I had a camera in those days!

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