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Posted by on November 15, 2012 4:18 PM | 


With the skies brightening it would have been plain rude not to nip down to Formby to have a look at the Waxwings today, and I was soon admiring 12-16 of the trilling little beauties perched high in a birch in gardens on the corner of Barkfield Lane and Vicarage Road.
One very kind resident allowed me into his garden for a closer look, but they spent most of their time sitting high in the branches and occasionally flycatching in the sunshine.



Eventually they dropped down into a garden by the road to feed on cotoneaster, but just as they were getting comfortable, a Sprawk ripped through 'em, after a touch of exotica for lunch no doubt, and they scattered high.
Nuthatch calling away here too.
Found the Waxwings again a short time later at about 1400 when a large flock descended on the junction of Woodlands Road and Mere Road - I counted at least 83 birds, but there could have been more, as groups were constantly dropping down into gardens or zipping off flycatching.


I settled down on the road junction and the Waxwings began dropping into a berry bush beside me.
It was at this moment, that with the perverse sense of humour typical of my kit, my "trusty" (ha!) Nikon Coolpix L1 decided to jam solid and resolutely refuse to open its shutter for anyone or anything - including a Waxwing just three feet from me scoffing berries in the bright sun!
I know it has seen service from the Arctic Circle to the Dead Sea and a fair bit of rainforest to boot, but this really was not the time to give up the ghost.
We had words and it is still sulking now.
Frustrated with techno-failure, I headed over the mosses for a look at the Withins, were good numbers of Fieldfare and Starlings were round Engine Lane, and about 8,000 Pinkies were feeding on Altcar Moss.
Plex was a bit quieter, but had more Fieldfares, Starlings, Common Buzzard etc.
Headed for home to give the Nikon some lump hammer therapy.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...


Fourteen Waxwings in a tree on Harington Road, Formby, about 300m south of junction with Victoria Road, at 2.00pm today.

The winter skies around RSPB Leighton Moss are once again alive with the sound of starlings. They have been converging in their thousands upon the reed beds at Leighton Moss for their nightly vigil. The RSPB is inviting members of the public to come and experience for themselves this winter wildlife wonder and enjoy a warming mug of soup at the visitor centre afterwards.
The nightly ritual begins at dusk with just a few small flurries of starlings but then the numbers gradually build to a seething, swirling mass of up to 100,000 birds. This flock, or murmuration as it sometimes called, may twist and turn, rise and fall for some time before finally pouring into the reeds to settle down for the night.
It is hard to believe when you see so many thousands together at one time, but Europe’s starling population has been in sharp decline for the last 30 years. Starling numbers recorded in the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Bird Watch have fallen by 80 per cent since 1979 across the UK.
The starling and soup events will take place every Wednesday in November from 2.30pm until 4.30pm or until dusk. The cost will be £6 per Adult (RSPB members £3.50).
For more information on this and other events being held at Leighton Moss, visit

Here's some footage of the Great White plus some Littles flying across Marshside (Rimmer's?) en route to roost.
Taken a couple of weeks ago, 4pm so a mite gloomy.
Not often to see a GWE with an escort of Pink-Foots.
You can watch the footage on You Tube at:


Today (21/11/1201 at 1400hrs) went to Fountains Road, Kirkdale at Stanley Road end to see Waxwings, hoping to see the reported 100 or so.
Did I see waxwings?
You bet I did. 300 plus!
The problem with counting them was they never stayed still long enough to work my way through the flock.
Start counting and 50 or so would detach themselves, so start again.
Then 100 plus fly in to spoil the next count.
By counting groups I did get a comfortable number of 300 plus for one brief moment. Later I did achieve a confident count of 200 at a moment when I knew they were not at their maximum number in the tree.
My highlight of the year.

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