Boxing Day Bonanza

With every tree stripped bare down the road it was unlikely that I was going to see any waxwings on my doorstep, however a brief chat with a friend from the nature reserve sent me off in the right direction.

I’d been in this vicinity looking before and not seen any but today I hit lucky. The first birds I spotted were a couple of redwings but then  a high pitched chirruping started up and suddenly they descended.

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They didn’t stay long so I wandered around the corner to see if I could see where they’d gone and noticed a tree with around 100 birds perched high in the branches. Every so often a flock would break away and fly behind some nearby houses so off I set again and found the trees they were stripping bare.

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Absolutely stunning birds with an array of colours and very approachable hardly disturbed by my presence or the home owner who was busy gardening just feet away from them. Backwards and forwards they would fly gorging themselves on the berries. I counted forty in the tree with even more waiting their turn in the trees opposite.

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A very special Christmas present, because as soon as these trees are stripped bare they’ll be off.

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Berry Christmas

I’m still spending time watching the birds strip the berries from the trees and over the last couple of days the Fieldfares have arrived to stuff themselves. Although there’s been a lot of redwings around the fieldfares were absent and these two birds commonly flock together during the winter months. Its interesting to watch how the trees get stripped from the top down and three of them are now totally bare of berries. The smallest tree in the street is still covered and the birds seem to be leaving this to last as they will be more exposed on this one. There are a number of song thrushes about and they get very territorial over particular trees spending as much time nosily chasing away other birds as they do eating. Another week or so and the berry bonanza will be over.

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If a Committee Designed a Duck

Every time I see a male Mandarin duck I imagine it being dreamt up by a committee of bewhiskered Victorian gentlemen, all of whom had to have an input.

In fact they were imported from Asia during the 18th century for the landed gentry to show off. They began to breed in the wild when some escaped in Chobham in Surrey. They have gradually spread around the country and there is a healthy population near me at Adel Dam near Leeds.

They males are stunning to look at with an array of features and colours in comparison to the rather dowdy grey female. However in summer the males lose their gaudy appearance and appear very similar to the females.

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