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England

Waxwings irruption

Back in the 1990s when we used to live in Wellingborough, we had a visit from some birds I had never seen before. They had landed in a bush with berries on it and I had no idea what they were until I checked our bird book.
That was the first time I saw waxwings – beautiful little birds, with a parrot-like crest and lovely plumage.

On Friday 20th January I heard that there were some waxwings in Stourbridge, so I just had to go and take a look. I only had my phone with me on the first visit. I found the location and the birds were very well behaved, waiting to have their photographs taken! I took a short video with my phone, but the camera was very poor for stills.

I went back home and grabbed my Nikon with 200mm lens and returned to the site. It is on a main road near a busy junction, this didn’t seem to worry the birds at all, as the rowan berries were the only thing on their minds. When I got back there were 10 of the 12 birds still remaining.
So I put my 200mm lens to good use and took these:

They were sitting in this tree, next to two rowan trees laden with berries. They were taking excursions into the rowan, but seemed to prefer to rest in the other tree between feasting.

Waxwing, alert in the rowan
This photo shows the plumage well. They are named waxwings as the red blob is said to resemble an old fashioned wax seal.
The Bohemian Waxwing are winter visitors to the UK. When the weather conditions are particularly bad in Scandinavia, they fly across the North Sea to Britain. They are more common in Scotland, less so in England. When they migrate in large numbers it is known as an irruption and the waxwing irruption of 2017 is seeing them all over the country.