Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Waxwing lyrical part 45 - Unexpected departure.

The Waxwing was not seen at all yesterday or so far today and it appears the bird has moved on. There is also the possibility that she has been predated or met some other fate but I prefer to think that it has started the long return migration to the breeding grounds in north eastern Fenno-Scandinavia or Siberia. This departure was a little sooner than I had expected but then her arrival was not expected at all so what do I know. There was a clear sky yesterday evening so the conditions were potentially suitable for a nocturnal departure if that is what Waxwings do.

This was one of the last photos taken on 01/03/15. Gone but never to be forgotten.
Despite extensive searching I have not been able to find any references to Waxwings being described as nocturnal migrants but I assume they are or perhaps I should say have that ability. The reality is probably quite complicated with Waxwings having the flexibility to migrate by day or by night but I suspect that long distance movements are mainly undertaken at night. If anyone can point me to any published information on nocturnal v diurnal movements of Waxwings in spring or autumn then please let me know.

It is back to normal birding in the garden but I will continue to put out a few apples for a while as I still have a wintering Blackcap and other species take advantage of them occasionally. The Grey Wagtail still visits the garden and looks particularly scruffy at the moment as it is undertaking its partial winter moult. Up to 20 Goldfinches continue to visit the feeders each day but Siskins are conspicuous by their absence. This appears to be due to a bumper crop of Sitka Spruce seeds which may mean an absence of Siskins from our gardens but should result in an early and bumper breeding season for them.

Despite the regular supply of apples this was the first time I recorded a Song Thrush feeding on them this winter. My garden Song Thrushes prefer to feed on the meal worm laced fat cakes.

This Grey Wagtail is undergoing an extensive partial moult. Some tertials were in the process of being replaced, some feathers are in pin on the head and new yellow feathers can be seen coming through on the breast. This photo also reminds me that I need to start cutting the lawn.

Just a few of the Goldfinches in the garden 01/03/15.
So Waxwing lyrical posts will go back on hold again, but just for how long this time is anybody's guess. We are probably due a Waxwing winter and autumn 2015 may well see the next big irruption.

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