FIVE TO FIND in January
ANOTHER NEW YEAR has come around, and it is time to put on your warm clothes and go out to see some of the great birds the season has to offer. Here are five beauties to kick off the year. Shed a few Christmas pounds (weight that is) walking in the country, and start your #My200birdyear 2017 list off in grand style by seeing and enjoying any or all of these five superb winter birds! GREAT NORTHERN DIVER
Of the three British divers (Whitebilled are also ‘regular’, but are rare) the Great Northern is the largest; though there is some overlap of smaller individuals with larger Black-throated Divers. Unlike Red-throated and Black-throated Divers, Great Northerns are not really UK breeders, but are non-breeding visitors and winterers: fewer than 3,000 birds. Most are found
US WHAT YOU’VE SEEN! twitter.com/birdwatchingmag facebook.com/birdwatchingmag off the Scottish coasts, particularly off the Northern Isles; while in England, most are found off the Cornish coast. Some venture inland to larger water bodies. Big and heavy with a big and heavy bill, Great Northerns in winter usually look dark at the head end and slightly paler on the back (the other way round with Black-throated) and show a distinct half-collar on the neck. WAXWING
The Waxwing is a famously ‘irruptive’ species. This means that every so often, bumper numbers leave the Scandinavian and Russian breeding grounds and we are blessed with good numbers over here in the UK. As it happens, it seems that our wishes have been fulfilled, and this appears to be a good Waxwing winter. This is particularly welcome as Waxwings are, quite simply, gorgeous birds! In addition to the crest (who doesn’t like a crested bird?), the dabs of bright yellow in the tail and wing (yellow) and bright sealing wax red in the wing (hence the name), the plumage has a softness and shape-shifting flexibility. And they even make a very pleasant ringing trilling call. Waxwings are famous for visiting supermarket car parks. But also look for them anywhere where there is a plentiful, ripe supply of berries or other fruit.