Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Cold Weather Friends

A Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulous) was spotted in Notts today - the first of many now the cold weather has arrived. They are winter visitors from Scandinavia.  Some years they can be seen in large numbers or irruptions.  They eat berries - particularly Rowan or Hawthorn.  Last year I watched a group of about twenty stripping a Rowan tree in the middle of a comprehensive school playground ... they were totally ignoring the 1,500 kids milling around them but the kids didn't seem to be noticing the Waxwings either!

Another winter visitor from Scandinavia is the Redwing (Turdus iliacus).

These form large flocks with another migrant thrush, the Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris).

Figures from last week's RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch and the BTO Garden Birdwatch Survey reveal that the number of reported sightings of Fieldfares in UK gardens has increased by 441% over the past week!  Redwing sightings are up by 137% (information from Birdwatch Magazine).  Last Saturday just before the snow arrived the field outside the house was covered in Redwings and Fieldfares ...  far too many to count.  They were feasting on the insects and worms before removing all the berries from our Holly tree.

Photos by Andy Mason

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