On Wednesday (17th) there were still at least 200 Waxwings but I didn't manage to get more accurate count before I had to head off to work via Sainsbury's. A weather warning was in force for strong winds and even gales from Wednesday evening through to Thursday morning so I wasn't looking forward to putting out the apples that night. When I got home that evening the Waxwings had eaten almost all of the apples so I quickly put out a few more kilos and a good number continued feeding until almost 8 o'clock.
It was very windy and some of the gusts were really strong but I decided to try and put the apples out as normal. As I climbed the ladder at the first tree it was swaying quite a bit so I did have to wrap my arms around the tree once or twice to hold on. I stuck with it and carried on putting out the apples and although I am no tree hugger I certainly had to be a few times that night. I was more bothered that the wind might shake the apples off the branches and undo all my work.
Next morning it was still really windy with near gale force gusts but, thankfully, most if not all of the apples were still up in the trees. The birds arrived a bit later than usual but 178 were present by 07:00 although I struggled with that count in the wind. That was the best count I managed before heading off on the college run and then on to work, again via Sainbury's.
|Around 133 of the 178 Waxwings present early morning 18.04.13.|
|32 Waxwings in the evening sunshine 18.04.13 looking fat and ready to go.|
This morning I was up at 05:30, I say up but I didn't actually go to bed as I fell asleep on the couch again. It was a little bit breezier than I would have liked but it was nice and overcast. I only put up one 18ft net in the most sheltered position because of the breeze but I still didn't think I would catch much. To my surprise and delight I caught 12 new and 12 retrap Waxwings over the next couple of hours. Some of the retraps were particularly interesting as they showed the weight the birds have gained over the past couple of weeks. A bird ringed on 05/04/13 when it weighed 58.3g was retrapped today and weighed 72.3g, an increase of 14g in 14 days. That may not seem much but it is an increase of around 24% and equivalent to an 8 stone person putting on the best part of 2 stone in only 2 weeks, now that takes some eating to do that whatever you eat and especially apples!
|Looks fat and is fat, this bird weighed 72.1g but has someway to go to match the heaviest caught today.|
It also has some way to go to get back to it's breeding grounds and hopefully all the apples have helped
improve it's and the others chances.
One thing for sure I will be up bleary eyed and early to find out.