The wildlife garden continues to provide visitors with a great chance to view some of our scarcer and more colourful garden visitors. Nuthatch, Willow Tit, Brambling, Long-tailed Tit, Sisikin, Treecreeper and Lesser Redpoll have all been seen today with a pair of Waxwings lingering on the geulder rose berries yesterday. The redhead Smew is still on Spoonbill Flash with around a dozen Goosander and a Little Egret for company.
Our edible Xmas tree is proving a great hit with the birds and the visitors. Pop along anytime between now and Xmas and you can make your own decoration. The exhibition of art and crafts from Fairburn volunteers continues providing an opportunity to buy your loved ones a totally unique gift. We also have a sale on in the shop with some amazing reductions. I've just bought a £30 book for a quid!!!
On Saturday a kestrel was seen near the roadside at Newton farm and later in the day 2 buzzards were also seen flying overhead. 70+ waxwing were seen from Cut lane and a further 11 flying over the pond dipping platforms. On the feeders around the visitor centre were nuthatch, brambling, willow tit, coal tit and bullfinch. Flying over the visitor centre were 70+ pink-footed geese heading west. On Sunday treecreeper and kingfisher were reported from Pickup hide and nuthatch and bullfinch were reported in the wildlife garden.
Even non-birdwatchers get excited about these distinctive, colourful and famously approachable birds. They usually offer ample opportunity to appreciate their sandy plumage with a full crest, black bib, yellow tips to the tail feathers and white markings in the wings. Even the little red waxy tips to the secondaries can often be seen very well.
A Waxwing is slightly smaller than a Starling. They do not breed in the UK, but are a winter visitor, in some years in larger numbers, called irruptions, when the population on its breeding ground gets too big for the food available. This year is turning out to be one of those years as a mass population have arrived this winter to the UKs shores.
Waxwings mainly eat berries, particularly rowan and hawthorn, but also cotoneaster and rose. You normally hear Waxwings being reported in supermarket car parks, eating the berry trees there. The Waxwing influx that is currently at Fairburn are eating Hawthorn berries down The Cut and apples in a back garden. The photo here shows a Waxwing in a Hawthorn bush down Cut Lane taken on 11th December.
By Joe Seymour