Definitely a Waxwing Winter!

Yesterday morning, after a rather quick change of plan we headed to an industrial estate in East Grinstead to hopefully see my first Waxwings, a slight change from Pulborough Brooks which we were heading to!

It had been the first time for quite a few years, that I can remember anyway, that a substantial flock had been reported in Sussex so I couldn't miss this opportunity. We arrived and straight away I saw the flock of around 31 which were all perched on a single tree. Their distinctive tufted head silhouetted against the harsh light.

Waxwings
I grabbed my camera and binoculars and went to meet up with the other birders who were stood watching these beautiful birds. The Waxwings then all flew down onto a small rosehip as they gorged on the ruby red berries. Unfortunately the light wasn't great so I didn't get many good pictures.

Waxwings feasting on berries

They then flew onto a large oak tree and were flying down out of view, presumably feasting on some more berries. 

Waxwings are a brightly coloured bird, slightly smaller than a Starling. With a distinctive crest, reddish-brown plumage on its body and a black mask across its eyes they arrive in Britain in the Winter. When the abundance of berries are low in their breeding grounds of Scandinavia, Russia and across parts of North America they have to find food elsewhere. This is when they head over to Britain, turning up in eastern and northern Britain first. They then disperse south and west, gorging themselves on berries, particularly rowan. 

Waxwing taken by James McCulloch (blog at www.jiainmac.wordpress.com)
After admiring them for a while, we decided to go and walk our dog at Ashdown Forest, even though it was pouring with rain! When we got there I was surprised at how much snow there still was, after walking out into it it started snowing! Although I didn't manage to spot anything interesting this obliging Robin did pose for a few photos!

Robin

Hope you enjoyed reading this post!

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