Saturday, 23 March 2013

More than just Waxwings

I fell asleep on the couch again last night as all the early starts are really catching up with me. I woke up at 05:30 when my son got up to go to work to find there was good covering of snow. At least six inches of snow had fallen over the previous 24 hours and it was still snowing. I had to push his car off the drive by which time I was well and truly awake so I decided to stay up and wait for the Waxwings to arrive.

Only 6 Waxwings arrived at the usual time but there was loads of other activity in the garden. An unringed female Blackcap caught my attention but a little while later the ringed female appeared. There was quite a bit of aggression between these two birds with each trying to chase the other off. They were far more relaxed in the company of other species and it was interesting to watch them feeding with a Robin, House Sparrows, Blackbird and Goldfinch. Watching a Blackcap feeding on the ground with House Sparrows just doesn't seem quite right.

The snow and apples brought quite a few thrushes to the garden and Redwing was the only one I didn't manage to photograph although I did hear one several times. Three Fieldfares tried to stake their claim to the apples and a particularly well marked individual eventually won the battle for the garden. The other two were relegated to apples I had put in the trees in the park across the road. Two Mistle Thrushes sneaked into the garden and were particularly furtive. It amazes me how shy and secretive they can be for such a big bird. The local Song Thrush also put in a appearance as did numerous Blackbirds.


The number of Waxwings did increase and 58 were present by mid-morning. The Estonian ringed bird was photographed again. One Waxwing tried to defend the apples in the main feeding tree and drove the others off for a while giving alarm calls as it did so. I didn't stay and watch all day as much as I was tempted to. I went and bought some bird seed and topped up the feeders at one of my baited sites negotiating 5 foot high snow drifts in the process.

When I got back the apples had clearly been battered so I put some more out. Around a dozen Waxwings reappeared and fed until late afternoon. Tonight I spent another finger numbing hour or so putting out apples in the trees ready for tomorrow. I will probably be up early again in the morning although a lie-in is really tempting.

Collared Dove feeling the cold.

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