Scandinavian Blackbird, 1st winter male.

It's my understanding that our UK Blackbirds develop their yellow beaks in the first winter whereas winter visiting Blackbirds from the continent retain their dark beaks until the following spring.  This last few days there has been quite a noticeable influx of Blackbirds in front of my private hide on the outskirts of Exeter. Several of these birds have dark beaks and are noticeably different somehow.  Can anyone confirm this to me or  have I been misled?

Today's other visitors at the feeding station included Buzzard, Brambling, Redwing, GS Woodpecker as well as a gorgeous Pigmy Shrew seen often throughout the session in the leaf litter beneath the feed.  My own blog has lots of pictures from the hide from the last 6 months.

http://parrotletsuk.typepad.com/wldlife_in_a_suburban_gar/

Dark Beaked 1st winter Scandinavian Blackbird - Turdus merula
Dark Beaked 1st winter Scandinavian Blackbird - Turdus merula

Buzzard (believed 1st winter male)

Buzzard (believed 1st winter male?)

Ed: Charlie it might be better posting the questions on the forum which is more interactive than bird news section - but interesting!

Posted December 12th, 2012 at 9:18 pm by Charlie Fleming in Bird News