Sunday, 31 March 2013

Waxwing lyrical part 23 - they just keep coming

I never imagined I would ever get 120 Waxwings in my small front garden when that first bird turned up all those weeks ago. In fact I never expected to get that first bird although I had planted cotoneasters and rowans in the hope that I just might one day. I certainly didn't expect to spend so much time cutting apples in half and putting them out in trees not to mention the expense. When I wrote the first Waxwing lyrical post I didn't think there would be a part 2 let alone a part 23 but here we are.

I started to come down with a stinker of cold last night but I got up early anyway to see how many birds would turn up. I didn't have to wait long before the first group of about 20 arrived. A succession of small flocks joined the initial group and soon there were at least 122 birds in the trees along the road. They flushed a couple of times before dropping down to feed but when they did they really gorged themselves.

Waxwings gathering in the trees along the road from the garden this morning.
The birds disappeared for a while in the afternoon having eaten the bulk of the apples so I took the opportunity to put out some more and to tidy some of the apple debris in the garden. The majority of the birds reappeared later in the afternoon and continued feeding until around 6:30. I did do a bit of ringing again as at least half the birds in the flock were unringed. I caught  another 15 new Waxwings and only 5 retraps. I also saw the regular colour-ringed bird from Aberdeen and Estonian ringed bird.

It is interesting that there are so many new birds and yet a good number of long stayers. We have now caught 134 new birds and 3 controls. Some of the long stayers such as the colour ringed bird have been feeding in the garden for more than 6 weeks now but some of the birds we have ringed have clearly moved on. There is so much we don't know or understand and that is one of the reasons I enjoy ringing so much, another is to be able to get up close to stunning creatures like the Waxwing in the photograph below.

A stonking adult male Waxwing ringed this evening. They are just magical birds.
There has been a steady procession of people coming to see them over the past few weeks.
They have certainly generated a lot of interest and probably got a few more people into birding.
Ringing totals for 31/03/13 with retraps in brackets.
Waxwing 15 (5)
Great Tit 1
Siskin (2)
Blue Tit (1)
Totals 16 (8)+

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