Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Oh No....Not Waxwings Again!

Yes Waxwings again, and there are thousands of them in the UK right now, the very bird which gets all of us very excited....doesn't it!

Waxwing Gary Jones

Gary Jones got some excellent shots of these stunning birds when he visited Barrow near Clitheroe on Sunday, the one above I especially like, and if you was going to add a little humour to the pic the title would have to be 'Hey you down/up there'. 

Waxwing Gary Jones
This one is special for its timing, just as the bird takes a berry and either flaps its wings to keep balance, or is just about to take off....Excellent Gary, and thanks.

The Waxwing breeds in forests and wet woods from Scandinavia to Russia. Although numbers vary markedly from year to year it is a regular visitor to Britain. They usually arrive along the east coasts with rapid movement inland, with ringing recoveries clearly illustrating just how rapid they do move across Britain. A bird ringed at the end of October one year in Scotland was found in Barrow near Clitheroe 4 weeks later in early December, with another ringed in Scotland found in Exeter 12 weeks later.

Waxwing numbers in Britain fluctuate, with irruption years being mainly driven by food availability in their normal wintering areas. Oakes referred to the Waxwing as a sporadic winter visitor. By far the most important visitation to Britain which far exceeded any other record of immigration into the country at the time, took place during the winter of 1946-47 when the highest number in our recording area was of 200 birds at Carnforth in December 1946. There has never been a record of breeding Waxwing in Great Britain, but a record noted by Mitchell was of one in a garden at St Michael's on Wyre during the first week of July 1933, though interestingly this record was discounted by others 40 years later in 1973....took a long time to throw that one out then!

The first record of Bohemian Waxwing - to give the bird its full name - in Britain was mentioned in a letter in which the author wrote of one or two being shot at York in 1680 and referred to them in the letter as 'Silk-tails'. Of course historically they shot birds in their thousands, but we can end these short notes on the Waxwing with an even better and uplifting figure than that of thousands shot historically when we note....during the winter of 1995-96 an estimated 10,000 Waxwings arrived in the UK.         

Waxwing  Sharon Whitley

I just wish I could draw/paint half as good as this. Thanks Sharon....BRILLIANT.

And finally....Did you sign the 'Free Morgan Petition' please.

"The Free Morgan Foundation saw that during the hearing much attention was devoted to Morgan's well-being. The judges listened carefully to our experts who flew in from various parts of the world especially for the trial. We were very happy about the questions that the court asked. The judges seemed to be very interested and we hope for the positive outcome in 4 weeks!" -- Dr Lara Pozzato, Free Morgan Foundation.


Brian Rafferty said...

Pete.Thanks for very interesting info re the bird of the moment.They really are a must see bird.Still in Preston and I think a few in Lancaster. Take care.

Sharon Whitley said...

Thanks for this interesting info Pete and for featuring my painting - another surprise waiting for me as I was happily reading your post! - I really hope I get to see the waxwing spectacle on Friday - I've not seen a waxwing for real yet - shame we have to go to work in the meantime isn't it!!

Adam said...

I love that 2nd photo

Anonymous said...
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Pete Woodruff said...

Brian, Sharon, Adam....Just to say thank you, and to point out I dumped the comment above and am not prepared to make my own comments on why save to say it was just some sad idiot who needs to get something interesting in life to play with....maybe in Outer Mongolia.

Warren Baker said...

Hi Pete,
Still waiting for Waxwing here, another dozen apples have been staked to my garden elder Tree :-)