Friday, 23 December 2016

The Waxwing Cometh

It's been 10 days since my last day off so you can imagine my delight when I saw the forecast for this morning...
Undeterred, I headed out to for a quick check around the patch before Storm Barbara made her unwelcome appearance.
All was quiet.
Other than 5 tufted duck, a handful of coot and a teal Freeman's Pools was birdless.
Frog Pond was a little busier with c60 wigeon in situ plus another 'tuftie'.
Three smallish groups, totaling around 150, of pink-footed geese came down from the drumlins and landed in the fields to the east of the cycle track. Several people have mentioned that a few hundred pinkfeet have been in the area in recent days, with two pale-bellied brent geese among them on the 19th. It's always worth checking through geese at this time of year - who knows what might turn up among the commoner species! 
I then had a look at the Wildfowlers' Pools and The Flood but they were also quiet.
Along the path good numbers of fieldfare and blackbird plus a few redwing were still taking advantage of the bounty of fruit on the many hawthorns.
It will be interesting to see if the storm brings any notable birds to the area in the next few days; I'll certainly be getting out to take a look!

Waxwings at the White Cross, Lancaster
Despite my being tied up with work, it hasn't been an entirely birdless few days.
Having traipsed off to the Greaves area of Lancaster to catch up with waxwings several days ago, I was delighted when they decided to come and see me a earlier this week.
On Monday morning Gav Thomas called me and said "Have you seen waxwings from the office yet?". I replied no, to which he answered "there's 30 in the trees here".
And so a gaggle of RSPB employees tumbled from Cameron House to gawp at the flock, watching in delight as the birds flew down to a berry-laden rowan by the White Cross pub.
And so they remained for the week, delighting (and bemusing) passers-by, local birders and RSPB staff as the flock fluctuated between 10 and up to 60.
We've been able to keep an eye on the birds from the office window ensuring that waxwing is well and truly on the office list!
Apparently the collective noun for waxwings can be either an 'ear-full' or a 'museum'. Personally, I find those both too ridiculous to bother with so I'll stick with flock for now...

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