Thursday, 14 March 2013

Waxwing lyrical part 17 - absolutely trilling

When I got home last night I was pleased to find my telephoto lens had been delivered. It has been in for repair for the past two and half weeks and I didn't know if it would come back before the Waxwings moved on. I was also pleased to find out the garden had been full of Waxwings for much of the day. A friend told me that many of the birds weren't ringed so I decided to fit in a short ringing session this morning.

I was joined by John G shortly after 6am and we put up an 18ft net in the usual place. I had spent two hours putting out apples and berries last night so everything was set and we waited for the birds to arrive. Waxwings soon started to arrive and gather in the tall trees along the road. By 6:30 there were at least 63 and they dropped into the garden a few minutes later.

It was clear there were a lot of unringed birds in the flock and the first 4 birds caught were all unringed. The second net round produced another 3 new birds, a retrap and a British control (ringed elsewhere by others). I took the net down at 8:30 by which time we had caught 22 Waxwings of which 14 were new birds, only 7 were retraps and 1 was a control. This high proportion of new birds suggests there has been an influx of birds into the area.

A stonking adult male.
Some of the tail feathers were longer and had paler tips.

The waxy tips were very long.

This bird chose to bite me rather than go straight away on release.
John had to go to work but I had booked the day off so I would have a chance to try out my repaired telephoto lens. The garden was just buzzing and the Waxwings fed on and off for much of the rest of the day. While taking photographs I spotted and photographed the colour-ringed bird from Aberdeen and the Estonian ringed bird. I also photographed the Fieldfare that has been with us for almost two months now.

This female Fieldfare has been with us for almost 2 months now.

This Waxwing was ringed in Aberdeen and has been coming to the garden for a month now.

I did take quite a few photographs and the lens worked really well. Looking at the photographs it was obvious that there are still plenty of unringed birds in the flock. I spent another couple of hours putting out around 80 apple halves and some cotoneaster berries this evening in the hope of another trilling day tomorrow.

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