Fringe Box



Birdwatcher’s Diary No.24

Published on: 3 Dec, 2012
Updated on: 3 Dec, 2012

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By Malcolm Fincham

Will we be witnessing a waxwing winter? I can hear you all asking. Well, that is the question that’s being asked the most on my “travels” over the last week or so.

A waxwing pictured in the Highlands of Scotland in 2009.

My guessed reply is that this is a distinct possibility. With an apparent poor year for berries in the sub-artic north where they  breed, there have already been a few reports of some Waxwings arriving in the UK.

I was very fortunate to visit to the Highlands of Scotland a few years ago to meet up with a registered bird ringer in Grantown-on-Spey. At the time  there was an influx of waxwings and I had the pleasure of seeing them close-up.  I have included a couple of pictures that I took at the time.

That was back in February 2009,  although I have had good sightings since then of waxwings in the Guildford area – at Slyfield Green, Shamley Green, and the best of all in the Tesco car park in Aldershot where I counted in excess of 40. In fact, supermarkets are a good place to look out for them, as many of their car parks have pyracantha bushes adorned with berries which waxwings love to feed on.

A quite amusing report I read recently had Morrisons as the most often reported sightings of these birds, with Tesco coming a close second!

Click here for more information.

Hence, I never mind helping on our winter shopping trips. Although I’ve now learnt to refrain from shouting “Waxwings…!!!” as my wife is trying to manoeuvre our car into a parking space. (I[wasn’t too popular that day).

By far the best rare bird sighting in the Surrey area over the last week was a great white egret, seen at the London Wetland Centre, Barnes; and  as a flyover at Untead sewage farm near Godalming.  And a bird, probably of the same family, bred for the first recorded time in the UK this year in Somerset.

Sunset at Stoke Lake, November 2012.

With a distinct chill in the air to end the month of November, it’s certainly beginning to feel a bit like Christmas (in the immortal words of Bing Crosby).

The best sightings on my local patch have been nice views of both siskins and redpolls, along with continued good views of the barn owl at Bowers Lock, plus the occasional glimpse of a kingfisher as it patrols both lake and river. But unfortunately at this time of the year, sunset is never too far away…

And finally, a recent picture of a blackbird enjoying one of its five-a-day at the Jarvis centre in Stoughton Road, Guildford.

A blackbird has a fruit feast.

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Responses to Birdwatcher’s Diary No.24

  1. steve Reply

    December 6, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    As always a very enjoyable and informative diary, the waxwing is a very attractive bird.

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