Welcome to the first in our series of blogs on seasonal species to look out for, with a few of our best tips for success thrown in. We’re kicking off with one of the very best birds winter has to offer: the wonderful waxwing.
This is one of those birds that has it all. It looks stunning with a punky crest, pink-hued plumage and, depending on age and sex, a beautiful combo of waxy-red, yellow and white on its wings. It has a rippling, bell-like call which makes a wonderful sound from a big flock. It is super confiding and it doesn’t mater if you live in the countryside or a town or city because they can, and do, turn up anywhere. They’re entertaining to watch as they greedily gobble berries down, systematically stripping a bush and usually dropping as many as they eat! Finally, waxwings are enigmatic in their appearances: in some winters there are thousands and in others hardly any, begging the question as to whether it will be a “waxwing winter”...
Sure to brighten up any winter's day - a waxwing, or better still a whole flock of 'em (Andy Hay rspb-images.com)
The jury is still out on whether this will be a waxwing winter, but as the days are passing, more and more are arriving in a trickle rather than a flood so far. They have reached the west side of the UK now and into Ireland, so it is well worth keeping your eyes and ears out for a flock of these visitors over the next few weeks. You might get a bonus Christmas present.
Top tips for finding waxwings
Let us know if you see any. Nature's Home readers have reported them from a few spots already, with Yorkshire doing pretty well at present. Good luck!
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