Wednesday 15 December 2010

Hunting Waxwings

What dreary weather we've been having lately. Not exactly encouraging us togs to venture out there, when the skies are grey, it's drizzling and not particularly warm either. Saturday was one such day, and despite seeing the bittern flying along the far side of the Moors pool, there was little else to note, though 3 water rails were mooching around near the feeders, scuttling across the iced edges of the lake.

Sunday promised to be better, and I first headed down to Warndon again, after seeing reports of waxwings on the Saturday. Set off in fine sunshine... arrived to find the estate covered in a blanket of thick fog, and no sight nor sound of the birds. Bugger. Oh well, checking on other sightings, I found myself down at Pershore, in even denser fog!

Over to Evesham next, and no birds and more mist. This was starting to annoy me, as the morning was almost gone, and I'd not seen a thing. Finally I decided to try to find the birds reported on an industrial estate over in Alcester, which turned out to be the same spot as I saw a black redstart earlier in the year.

Whilst cruising around the estate, I spotted something unusual on a factory roof, and did a double take... a red legged partridge! Fancy that! I did, and pulled over to get some shots. It seemed a bit confused to be up there and not in a pear tree at this time of year, but managed to show some seasonal magic by vanishing when I tried to reverse the car back for a better view.

Heading towards the River Arrow, I clocked a very encouraging sign. I say "sign", but really mean a person. Dave Hutton, who had been photographing the flock of waxwings for a couple of hours. Parked up and waited.

There were 28 birds (Dave counted, as I'm useless at flocks in flight) and they were initially on a small circuit between a tall tree beside the river, and several small berry trees by some flats. It was good because the berries were of different colours, allowing (when the birds descended) us to get shots on each.

As luck would have it, within about 20 mins of me getting there, the clouds amassed and the light rapidly left. Along with Dave, who said Stella was calling for him...

I stayed on for a while longer, chatting to locals and other togs, and trying to keep warm, though compared to recent weeks, it was almost tropical! Still cold after a while though, and the birds started to spread out around the estate, taking longer to return. That was my cue to leave, but not a bad day in the end. Fingers crossed that the sun will show itself one weekend soon, while these wonderful birds are still around for more pics.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Pete, I have lived in Alcester for over 20 years and for the first time was aware there were waxw3ings in the Town up on the industrial estates. It was fantastic to see such a rare bird near the town and although I got some shots on my ipod they didn't really do the event justicde. I am really happy to find my way to your site and relive the occassion through your photos. Many Thanks I'll be back. Ian Chester, Alcester