Waxing lyrical over visitors
YOU’RE very unlucky if you haven’t yet spotted one of these beautiful birds this winter.
We’ve had a superb fall of waxwings on Teesside and they have visited many parts of our area in good numbers.
When they first began arriving from Northern Scandinavia and Siberia in November, I drove through to Billingham to take a few pictures close to the Owington Farm pub.
Soon waxwings were seen in several different locations, including Cargo Fleet Lane, Sainsbury’s car park in Middlesbrough centre and also close to Alexanders Motors at Thornaby.
Like most birders, I keep an annual bird list, which starts again from scratch every January 1.
So it was useful to tick off waxwing without any fuss on New Year’s Day, though strangely I checked out just one individual at the Graythorp Industrial Estate – which used to be Graythorp village – near Hartlepool
This superb photo of a waxing was taken by Barbara Fitzpatrick as it prepares to devour the berries in her Redcar garden.
Barbara writes: “I have had many different birds in my garden over the year. So far I have counted 26 different species from the little wren to herring gulls.
“There was even a red legged partridge which came every day for a week and then disappeared as quickly as it came.
“So you can imagine my delight last year when one single waxwing was in my crab apple tree. The other day I was even more delighted when four landed on a few apples and I managed to get pictures of two of them.”
One thing about waxwings is that they can be very numerous one winter and then virtually absent during the next one.
I can’t recall the last year in which I didn’t see one, though my devotion to my Year List sent me to Jarrow to tick them off in 2015, which is an indication of how few were seen on Teesside.
And, on the subject of lists, why not join Barbara by keeping your own garden list. It’s a bit of fun but also helps top sharpen up your birding.
I’ve seen species such as woodcock, fieldfare, redstart, long tailed tit, blackcap and grey heron in my garden - and I live in an urban environment.
I also once saw a flock of around 30 waxwings fly over the top of my garden without landing. Must plant some berrybearing bushes!
Eric would like to hear from readers about what they have seen. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org