Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Bohemian Waxwing. Mike Watson.

No apologies for another post about the Waxwing, though you will notice this time I decided to give the bird its full and proper name. The race which we see here in the UK are from Scandinavia and carry the scientific name Bombycilla garrulus. The first record of Bohemian Waxwing in Britain is of a bird 330 years ago in January 1680 at York. Today the birds are regular winter visitors to the UK which vary in numbers from a 'few' in some years to c.10,000 as is the record for the winter of 1995/96.

There appears to be a pattern of the influxes with first arrivals in eastern Scotland and north-east England and this seems to have been the case this year. If you look through the old records of Oakes, he reports large influxes into Lancashire at both sides of the turn of the 19th century noting most to be in the north of the county. He documented what he called 'the most important visitation' during the severe winter of 1946/47 when we get a mention in our area of a bird in Cockerham in December followed by a build up in numbers when 200 were in Carnforth at the end of the month.

Bohemian Waxwing. David Cookson.

In recent years there have been some interesting ringed recoveries, an example being of two birds ringed in October 2004 in Aberdeenshire both of which were seen in Barrow in December, these two birds have the added interest of being seen at the very same location as Mike Watson's, David Cookson's and Brian Rafferty's birds, observed and photographed as seen on Birds2blog, two more birds from the same catch in Aberdeenshire were also seen in December in Burnley, one of which was later seen in Buckinghamshire in January 2005. These records clearly show the speed at which these birds can move through the country.

Thanks to Mike and David for letting me put these photographs on here, please visit their websites - which can always be linked from my sidebar - for excellent records and photographs both here and further afield.         


Warren Baker said...

Well you said they it twice pete ...lets hope the speed they move throught the country brings them to me pretty rapidly :-)

Pete Woodruff said...

Absolutely correct, twice....but not now Warren.

David Cookson said...

Pete I can't count birds for toffee, but some people at Barrow on Saturday could and assured me a head count of 128, not 130 mind, precisely 128.

Pete Woodruff said...

Ahhhh....lots of 'unbelievable' counts to beat this which I must confess is a pretty straight forward one as 128 Waxwing can't be all that difficult to count.

But there are millions of records which are complete nonsense David, like....2671 Dunlin.