Today when I arrived home from work I checked my E-mails. There was an E-mail from my brother - quite a rare event since he prefers to talk face to face or on the phone. Attached were a set of photographs of unusual birds making the most of the few remaining fruits in his garden trees. He was excited about this event because the birds in question were waxwings. These images just have to be shared (Copyright M. Pursglove 2009)
A lone waxwing in the UK is an unusual visitor, but this was a flock of an estimated 40 birds. I saw my last waxwing, a scruffy looking lone individual in 1997 in Staffordshire. Before that I recall seeing one in the 1960's. Such a large flock must be an exceptional event.
The wing pattern on these birds is unmistakable. Bombycilla garrulus is native to Northern Scandanavia and can be seen throughout the Summer in Finland, Sweden and Norway. It moves south in winter and may often be seen from Denmark to the Russian Steppe. visitors to the UK are becomeing more frequent during our winter when there is a shortage of berries and fruits in thier normal range, but the RSPB put the visiting estimate at less than 100 birds in any one year.
I am really please that my brother had a camera to hand when this flock descended upon him. What a treat, only wish I had been there to see them myself.