Sunday, 12 December 2010

High Excitement

This year has been a very good one for sighting Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus) in Britain.  These exotic-looking birds arrive each year along the North and East coasts of Britain, from their breeding grounds of Northern Europe, usually in quite small numbers.  But, occasionally, if weather conditions in their native lands are very poor and their supply of berries to eat during the Winter fails, then larger numbers migrate south and west towards Britain.  This is referred to as a 'Fall' of Waxwings.  This year has been one of those years.
Malcolm and I have been looking out for these magnificent birds for a few weeks now and I have been keeping an eye on different bird-watching web-sites to see where they have been spotted, so imagine my delight when some had been spotted on our estate, close to where we live!  We have missed them a couple of times during the last week, arriving after they had flown off, but this morning, we hit lucky.
It is sometimes the case that when looking for a bird you have never seen, you will eventually see a large flock of them and this morning was no exception.  There must have been well over 100 individual birds feeding around the Hawthorn trees and flitting off to rest in the Ash trees nearby.  Their Twittering calls filling the air as much as the birds themselves.
They did however, remain frustratingly high up in the branches and hidden by the twigs.  So, good pictures were not easy to get.
What beautiful creatures they are.  And what a stir they were causing.  Several people had stopped to look and take pictures.
It was definitely the Hawthorn berries which kept their attention as they gorged themselves on the small, red fruits.
One more picture for now.... Hopefully more to come and hopefully the sun will be out next time so I can get some better and brighter pictures - it was just too dull this morning.  What a wonderful new 'tick' for my life-list.  I can't stop smiling!
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