Thanks for all your comments so far on the latest issue of Birds, plus all your photos letters and e-mails. I'd love to have the space to feature more of them in the mag, but the good news is that I can share more of your stories and photos on this blog.
I was hoping to feature some readers' waxwing photographs in the Big Garden Birdwatch feature on page 14, but we had to go without because we didn't have any. Today, I've received some absolute stunners from three different readers - thank you so much! I knew you wouldn't let me down after what has been another cracking waxwing winter.
This lovely composition above is from Geoff Howard in Staffs who wrote: "Attached photo of a waxwing which graced our garden for two days over christmas.This is the first ever sighting of this bird in our area or garden."
The above is one of a superb set from Peter Last. "Thought you might be interested in photos of 4 Waxwings that visited my garden in Cumbria on the afternoon of New Year 2012. They spent about an hour feeding on Hawthorn berries and generally loafing and preening, also coming down to my pond to drink. They also took water from a gutter at the back of my garage. Easy to approach with a little care I was able to take many photos. There had been as many as c200 taking mostly local Yew berries but most had departed when the weather became mild. This remnant group seemed to be visiting gardens. Although they seemed relaxed and happy to have me nearby, a sudden squeal and a rapid departure showed alertness as a sparrowhawk flew in over my head and through the bushes into the wood. All survived."
This one came in from John Schluter in Guildford who reports:
"Just recently there was a flock of Waxwings that visited the area. I took the attached at Northcamp railway station near Farnborough, Hampshire. Apparently these Scandinavian visitors are venturing further south in search of their preferred diet, berries. They were approximately 40 to 50 in number and made regular raids on the berry laden bushes. After a few hours they flew off, presumably of to their next dinner appointment. All in all a stunning sight."
Have you caught up with waxwings this winter?
They're still here in their thousands, so let us know if you have scored. It's about time I saw a few more, so with my girlfriend away for the weekend, I may well be on the hunt myself tomorrow. I'm very envious of those of you who are getting garden sightings though. My berries have all gone!
Not quite the result I was after, but some pretty intensive birding over the weekend did see me bumping into two waxwings at Brogborough Lake in Bedfordshire - a fine adult (they're the ones that have the most ornate wing markings of all) and a young bird. They sat on telegraph wires and hopped down to feed on some of the few remaining hawthorn berriers, giving views to six feet at closest - are there any tamer birds than waxwings?!
The latest birds is excellent. I received my copy only yesterday and read it before bed last night.
These are fabulous waxwing shots. They seem to be a scarcer in my local area now.
I have scored this Winter on a number of occasions and they really are one of the highlights of Winter. Your girlfriend must be worried about you going out on the hunt over the weekend!