The Safari heard news of a Waxwing at one of their favourite sites in nearby Preston over the usual local social media outlets last weekend. Due to serious family stuff there was no way we'd be able to go there an then but we hoped they might stick around a couple of days or so, the strteet it was in has several Rowan trees which often have a plethora of berries. The following day news broke that there were now two birds present; and then three! How do they find these 'regular' places? - we must have stood in that street at least three times over the last 20 odd years. There's no way that it's inherited knowledge as it's often too long between visits for parents to take their offspring, could it be scent that guides them, these berries giving off a 'we're ripe' odour that the birds can detect on the wind and home in on? Whatever the reason they find the little street their increasing number was the impetus we needed to decide to make the 15 mile trip down the motorway as soon as possible. Tuesday morning arrived and we had a the afternoon available and better still news was now that there were four present. After lunch we picked up CR and headed east. The roads were clear and we made good time but after parking up we were told we should have been there ten minutes ago. Well at least they were about and would probably come back after a short wait and a small group of birders had set off to see if there was any sign of them on any nearby berry laden trees or bushes.
One thing that did strike us as we looked around the trees and rooftop aerials for any sign of them was the large clumps of Mistletoe in several of the trees - don't recall that being there on previous visits.Collared Doves and a couple of Woodpigeons. A few minutes later a small flock of Goldfinches appeared at the top of the furthest tree down the street. It was good to see that all the street's trees had a Tree Preservation Order number on thenm too.
After a good while the local Mistle Thrush showed up, really good to see they're still about as they have become much harder to come by round our way in recent years. It was followed by three Blackbirds all of which came and went as if they had a curcuit they were following. But alas the Waxwings were still a 'been and gone'.
All of a sudden, after about an hour, DB shouted "that was them" as four birds shot over high above the houses. He went off after them and came back a good while later having found them in some trees overloooking the canal a few hundred yards away. "Rubbish views against the low sun, just silhouettes really - useless for photographs". There were several folk who wanted a look so he showed the way and set off like the Pied Piper with a straggle of birders in his wake. After crossing the road and going down the track to the little marina/stopping point on the canal we scanned the trees opposite where they had been half an hour earlier but there was no sign of them. Back to the street it was just in case they had turned their attention back to the berries. No they hadn't. We hung around a few more minutes and decided to get some pics of the Blackbirds before the light totally went. These short winter days can be a real pain!
Grey Lag Geese settled down and it swam out again. They might have done but it didn't. However a large female Sparrowhawk flew past at great speed and once again their was a great deal of sqawking from the parakeets at the Feeding Station. She obviously had a plan and a tast for the exotic. Chatting to TS who was at our first bench on the phone the sky behind him blackened and a rainbow appeared.Herring Gulls did but too far away and our pics were deleted straight away, then a Black Headed Gull followed suit, this time much closer, and we firred away again.Stock Dove that flew past towards Stanley Park but did get this Woodpigeon but missed it while it was in front of the rainbow - ah well you can't have everything! It looks as though it's had a good supper before retiring to bed for the night just look at its crop - full to busting!
Bramble thicket behind the bench we realised the wind had changed from south westerly to west north westerly bringing the storm front back towards us and we now had several hundred yards across open country to walk to the car in torrential diving rain - Monty the mutt doesn't mind a bit of weather and wouldn't be hurried - - we got absolutely drenched!