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Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Waxwings - Why Leave Home? - on 30th November, 2010

Not having seen a Waxwing since February, I have recently been wistfully looking at reports on Birdguides, waiting for the right moment to take a trip out to see some. Today was not to be the day, however, as I was confined to home, with a builder starting some work for us. Nevertheless, the day soon got exciting when I spotted a Brambling in the garden. OK, so not that rare a bird, but this is the first one seen in our garden for about 20 years!!


Shortly after this, I went to chat to my wife in the lounge, and noticed a flock of birds in the top of a bare tree about 100 metres down the road. I don't know what made me go and get the bins (must have been the jiz), but I'm glad I did. Amazingly it was Waxwings. I went to get the camera, set foot outside the front door - and they'd gone! Went round the corner, where I knew of a tree laden with berries, but no sign of them. Came back into our short cul-de-sac, and they arrived back at the same time as me. In my few previous encounters with Waxwings, they have been very confiding birds, but not these! These were very nervous birds. They were attracted to some very small pink berries on an ornamental tree (do not know what it is), but only descended for a few seconds to feed before dashing back to the roost tree. There were 39 of them, and just walking down the road set them off. I did manage a few shots from below the roost tree (underneath shots of Waxwing are never very satisfying), but only a couple of them down in the food tree. The light was awful too, so nothing much photographically.

Waxwing - on my street!

The Waxies were there for an hour or so, with one longish break when they were spooked by a passing female Sparrowhawk. They then disappeared for a couple of hours, coming back in the afternoon. However, they were very unsettled and looking to move on, even though the food tree was still full of berries. A couple of times they flew over our house and, with a Rowan in our garden, I was hoping for a garden 'tick' but, alas, it was not to be! They disappeared finally in the mid-afternoon. I will, however, be looking out for them tomorrow.

Whilst I was photographing the Waxwings, a Woodpecker landed in the roost tree. It's not often we see one of these on the Close, either!

Great Spotted Woodpecker (male)


  1. Lucky lucky you, but on the main picture I can count 40!!!!!!!!!

  2. Hi Paul - I still make it 39! You may be counting the bird approximately a third the way across from the left as two, but I'm pretty sure it's one with a wing stretched out.

  3. Excellent collection of my favourite birds,stunning.
    Also love your Brambling,superb shot.

  4. Thank you John. I'm hoping that they'll return when there's some sun around - and also that they'll get a bit more used to having people around!

  5. How many times did you recount Richard? I was only pulling your leg!!!!

  6. Thanks, Paul! I only re-counted twice!!!

    However, when I first counted the birds, when they were live and in the tree, I must have counted them at least ten times. They were relatively mobile and it was not easy for an amateur like me! So I must admit that I did wonder if I'd got it wrong when you posted your comment.


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