Saturday, 16 February 2013

Waxwing lyrical part 4

The much anticipated and hoped for Waxwing flock did not materialise yesterday. Three did not become nine or any other number as none visited the garden and it was well watched all day. To add to my disappointment the auto focus and image stabilisation had packed in on my zoom lens too.

This morning the wind was very light so I decided to put up an 18ft net in the garden to try and catch some of the many Siskins that have been visiting the feeders. There have been around 20 to 30 Siskins coming to the garden for the past couple of weeks which is exceptional compared with recent winters. Some of the Siskins are particularly fond of the fat cakes that I make from a mixture of finely chopped peanuts and dripping.

P J Alker
Siskins (Carduelis spinus)
As I was putting the net up I heard the distinctive call of a Waxwing and a single bird landed in a tree above me. The bird watched me as I finished off putting up the net and then it started to feed on the apples as soon as I went back in the house. It was the same adult female that first visited the garden on Wednesday 13th Feb and is identifiable by some missing feathers on the right side of the neck.

Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)
Waxwings are a gregarious species in winter so it is interesting that this bird returned alone after a day's absence. It obviously found an alternative food supply yesterday along with the two birds that accompanied it on Thursday so why did it come back alone today? Anyway I am glad that it did and it will be interesting to see what happens in the coming days.

Back to the ringing and a good number of Siskins were caught with 12 new birds and 2 retraps. This brings the total ringed to 28 in just over a week.

Siskin (Carduelis spinus)
Garden ringing totals 16/02/13 with retraps in brackets.
Siskin 12 (2)
Goldfinch 3
Long-tailed Tit 3 (1)
Robin 1
Wren 1
Totals 20 (3)

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