Tuesday, 25 December 2012

WAXWINGS AT XMAS

 Well I took a walk today up to Bradlaugh Fields, situated behind the Morrisons supermarket (Kettering Road). I had in the summer been to this location and was pleasantly surprised what I had found. For those who aren't familiar with the site, it has some history too it. Bronze age settlement etc, then Earl Spencer turned it into a links golf course, it had been earmarked for housing but locals had forced a revue of the plans and it was left to be green space...thank god! It is managed by the Northants Wildlife Trust, to the eastern perimeter you have Parklands housing estate, the western perimeter you have Kingsthorpe housing estate, northern perimeter you have the university/college and Moulton Park Industrial estate, I guess every grey space has to have a green beating heart. It's a mixture of habitats with big ponds and a "sort" of meadow near the trusts "barns". Here I found plenty of Starlings and common passerines. Nothing to special, until I got near Morrisons (golf course) and at first I got a Mistle Thrush then heard very faintly "trilling" and knew instantly what they were....WAXWINGS. Not many about 8-10, trying to get near them was near impossible, every time I got within range off they went. There was plenty of Rowan berry bushes and other berries for them to drop in on which made it slightly harder, which is great for them but bad for me as the section I was on had a lot of small but steep little hills all covered in lovely mud I was doing a very good impression of a wader wallowing around in mud. Very good fun, except I had my 500mm and was paranoid I would drop it!! I had just finished "tweeting" my find when a Sparrowhawk flushed them away and the small flock headed off towards Eastfield housing estate I was somewhat grumpy now as this is the area I live and could have saved my legs. The light wasn't great and didn't get many images (to busy slipping and sliding) on the way back I noticed the same Sparrowhawk being harrased by the Gulls roosting on Morrisons' roof, that'll teach it! I did have a good look around for any signs of a Stonechat as there was a lot of Gorse plants/bushes there but alas no sign and left walking away from the site pondering how long the Waxwings had been there unnoticed and then remembered I was thinking the same thing in the summer. If you're ever passing or shopping go and have a quick look, you can park in front of the gates (behind the petrol station), though species wise I thought the spring/summer was better because of the various warblers and butterflies and moths.

8 comments:

  1. We both had a great encounter on this day Doug.
    The only bird I know that excites just about every birder.
    Couple of goodies there.

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    1. Thanks Keith. Just wish I had a bit longer with them.

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  2. Love that first one, Doug. Superb clarity and light.

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    1. Cheers the light was all to brief, sadly. But the first one is my favourite too.

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  3. I enjoyed reading your account to go along with the pictures - and for all the difficulty you had getting the pictures, it seems like it was worth it because those are very fine images of a bird that's not easy to capture. We have cedar waxwings over here in the United States and they are always a treat to see.

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    1. Sadly our Waxwings are just a winter visitor, and their numbers vary each year. It seems this winter we've got a lot that migrated over from Europe. Thank You for the kind comment.

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  4. I would say that those images were well worth the effort, Doug.

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    1. Thanks Richard, definately worth getting muddy for.

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