FIVE TO FIND in Jan­uary

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your Birding Month -

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! twit­­watch­ing­mag face­­watch­ing­mag 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.

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