If we see tight flocks of small thrushes in flight or perching, they are most certainly redwings because song and mistle thrushes are solitary birds.

The redwing is our smallest thrush and can be confused with starlings in flight although the latter are slightly smaller and darker but their flight patterns are rather similar.

The title 'redwing' is a bit of a misnomer as their upper wings are not red but flanks and underwings only show a rusty red colour.

A dozen or so local redwings perch daily in the uppermost branches of my 'redwing tree' opposite my house, all facing the same way into the breeze but they won't perch there in high winds as the branches sway too much.

On a sunny day their pale cream fronts seem to glow in low winter sunlight.

Although redwings are essentially seasonal migrants to our shores from Scandinavia and Iceland, a few pairs do nest in Scotland every year.

When the birds arrive in early autumn they feed mainly on 'berried treasure', especially hawthorn, pyracantha and a variety of berry-laden shrubs.

When that food supply is exhausted they frequent grassy areas searching for worms and invertebrates.

During the heavy snow recently I thought their habits might change, but no, they still maintained their regular routine of perching high up surveying the scene below then swooping and searching in nearby gardens for berries.

During the snow fall the only other birds I saw were wood pigeons and a wren but the redwings seemed to be quite happy in the snow, no doubt conditioned to tolerate lower temperatures in northern Europe.