Sunday, 25 December 2016

Waxwings for Christmas

Seven waxwings feeding on rowans in Coronation park and Morrisons car park in Ormskirk today proved a great appitiser for Christmas dinner, and got me thinking about Christmas's past and what a great period it can be for birds. Of course it's great to simply walk around your local patch at Christmas, but why limit it to that, I've picked up several lifers at this time of year by travelling a little further.

On Christmas Day itself, the American buff-bellied pipit at Burton Marsh in 2013 was my only ever Christmas Day lifer, but other birds seen on the 25th include Siberian chiffchaff, waxwing and Mediterranean gull, and my records show that I've been birding on the day itself on 14 occasions since 2000.

The 24th has been more productive, with two lifers, a Blyth's pipit in 2014 at Pugneys and believe it or not my first yellow-browed warbler was near Preston on 24/12/1984. Another Blyth's pipit yesterday in Somerset, also ring-necked duck and 10 great white egrets. Other birds have included cattle egret (only my 2nd, in 1986), hawfinches and lesser spotted woodpecker.

A Baltimore oriole in Oxfordshire 2003 was the best bird I have seen on 26th and unsurprisingly was a lifer. I've had two 2nds on Boxing Day, Sora Rail in Nottinghamshire in 2004 and Pallid harrier in Norfolk in 2015. Other Boxing Day birds have been green-winged teal, ring-necked duck and black brant.

If I extended the search to between 21st and 28th, I could also add American golden plover (Cambridgeshire 2015), American wigeon (Lancs 2014), avocet (Cheshire 1994), black throated thrush (St Asaph 2016), desert wheatear (North Yorkshire, 2007), ivory gull (East Yorkshire 2013), Pallas's warbler (Merseyside, 2006), parrot crossbill (Nottinghamshire, 2013), Rough-legged Buzzard (North Yorkshire, 2008), snow goose (Lancs, 1991), surf scoter (Conwy, 2015) and Thayer's gull (West Yorkshire, 2013), plus lots of other birds including snow bunting, shorelark, Lapland bunting, velvet scoter, Med gulls, 3 species of diver and 5 species of grebe.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Colin, I have been much enjoying the content you have been regularly uploading especially the latest Waxwings, brilliant.

    I have taken much interest recently in photographing birds in the "Rainford Moss" area, I know the surrounding areas quite well, from the Simonswood area of Kirkby near Bickerstaffe to Moss Lane near the A580 East Lancs, I have driven the roads many times as my occupation(Gardener) requires visits to different properties from Knowsley through to St Helens and I often would make this journey via that route.

    However I have not ever ventured on foot onto the public pathways, much fear has been instilled into me about the landowners and gamekeepers and infact I always believed that the entrance at Coach Road onto the Old Coach Road was private and no public access was allowed.

    That was until I came across an old post of yours on in which you make it quite clear that as long as you stick to the pathways you will be OK, since this was actually quite an old post, 2003 to be specific I was wondering would you still recommend this area for birding? I would unfortunately be alone and on foot so I would just like to gain some advice to see if it would be worth the long walk that I anticipate is needed to get really out in the wild which of course I don't mind at all.

    Kind regards


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