Thursday, 15 December 2016

Wax off - wax on

The Safari booked a day off yesterday and minutes after having it Ok'd by the boss on Tuesday afternoon news of a flock of about 50 Waxwings in the neighbouring town broke. Well that was fortuitous! No need to make any difficult decisions about what to do or where to go. We had already planned a chill-out day around a safari somewhere but this news was just what we wanted. 
Tuesday had already seen us looking at a Borage plant still in flower and then watching a Black Headed Gull with an unseasonal almost total brown head in the melee after the last scraps of DB's lunch she was launching skywards over the seawall. Every winter there always seems to be one whose moult is highly retarded or overly advanced. Also slightly unseasonal were a good number of Daffodil sprouts sprouting tall above the soil.
And then back at Base Camp we saw the first green shoots of our Spanish Bluebells.
Anyway after a few small household chores yesterday waiting for the morning rush to die down we then pointed the car eastwards, half an hour later we were pulling up in a parking space to see a small cluster of birders stood close to a berry-laden roadside tree looking very odd and out of place amongst the hip and trendy university students making their way to lectures in the adjacent about sore thumbs! Trouble was none of the half a dozen or so birders ever lifted their bins once while we were walking towards them - a sure sign of chit-chat and no birds to be seen. Sure enough the word was there were some but they'd gone to who knows where. Other birders arrived who'd gone to look at nearby who-knows-where type places but without success.
Eventually news broke that two had been found at a 'traditional' berry-tree lined street not too far away. By the time we'd driven round there they'd done a bunk over the houses not to be seen again. Many years ago we almost bought a house on that street
Two Waxwings had been seen there not long before we got there but had disappeared over the rooftops. The local bloshy Mistle Thrushes might have had something to to do with it as we watched them successfully defend their precious berries against a party of marauding Blackbirds several times. 
With no sign of the Waxwings news came that there were others a mile or so we went and bingo - success. Driving down the small street we looked up at four smallish birds in the top of the tallest tree.
Every twenty minutes or so they'd drop down into a scratty Rowan tree with hardly any berries left on a tiny street corner amenity planting where they gave pretty stonking views.
They are gorgeous aren't they - and just a bit better for their unpredictability rating.
Somehow we managed to only get pics of the juveniles and not the adults with the bright yellow wing patches - doh!!! We'll just have to go back!
Also in the tree briefly was a berry eating Blackcap.
Got one
At work a walk to the shop for the crew's milk had us notice that our mystery local bird lover had been back and put out the feeders for the winter. Good on them. The 30 or more local House Sparrows are grateful too.
Where to next? Might have a look at the Starling murma=uration onm the way home tomorrow if the weather is OK, bit of a sunset would bee a bonus too.
In the meantime let us know who's sporting the natty tufts in your outback.

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