Friday, 21 December 2012

Friday 21st. December 2012

After being stuck in yesterday , and probably again tomorrow , and with two sightings of Waxwings reasonably locally over the two previous days , I was out early to see if the Winter visitors were still about . The first was down the A21 between Locksbottom and Green Street Green , but a good sweep of the area failed to find any sign , so I moved on to the second at the junction of the M25 and the M20 . A small flock had been seen in the edge of an industrial area , by a passing birder in yesterday's rain . Again I drew a blank . With no other plans , I decided to try a third site , an orchard near Horsmonden , just off the A21 , not far from Lamberhurst . 75 birds had been reported there on the KOS site . At least the cloud was starting to break up on my arrival , and unlike EMRS , there were still plenty of apples left on the trees and carpeting the ground below too . A wander along one of the many footpaths that criss cross the area found lots of
Fieldfares , once again , proving very difficult to get near to , and with most of the leaves having fallen from the fruit trees , very little cover to approach and only too quick to give an alarm call to announce my presence . After about half an hour , I was in my own little world listening for any trilling , when a big black Labrador came charging towards me barking .It stopped well short , but the barking had put up the Waxwings that I was searching for , just as I met up with the dog's owner ,
another birder . About 40/50 Waxwings were now on the wires , but as quickly as they appeared , they disappeared , heading out of sight , right over the highest point of the orchard . I spent the next hour or so walking the paths over in the direction the had flown , failing to find them . I made my way back to the car for a coffee and as I reached the lane trilling could be heard , and there was the flock , high in a tree almost over the car . As I got closer , they started to fly in small groups , heading for the area where I had seen them previously . Coffee was forgotten about as I followed them ,
finding them feeding , but with the rows of trees , it was very difficult to be able to focus on them .
Something then spooked them again , and up onto the wires they went again , this time almost
overhead . It was good to get them against the now blue sky , but they were quite high and I was looking fom underneath . A few minutes later and they were gone again , this time out of sight downhill . I headed back to the car for a second time , and this time did manage to get that coffee .
I felt resonably happy with the shots I had managed to get , turned the car around and headed downhill down the lane . As I got almost to the bottom , I pulled over to get a better look at a large
number of birds , once again high up some 50 mtrs. into the orchard , it was the flock again . Another cup of coffee as I watched them start to drop down to feed again , this time on the trees at the end of some rows . Coffee finished , I made my way along the track , finishing up under the tree and within 15 mtrs. of the feeding birds . The next hour or so was magical , as keeping still whilst feeding and moving when they all returned to the tree top , they seemed to accept my presence , and I was able to photograph them face on . The following shots are just a few of the many I was able to take , before once again the flock departed .

As I got back to the car , I must admit with a big grin on my face , another birder arrived . I was able to tell him where the flock's favoured perches were , but was unable to tell him where the flock was . I hope he was as lucky as I was .


Warren Baker said...

I might have to break away from the patch over Xmas Greenie and get some of these Waxwing images. You've got some corking shots there :-)

Mike H said...

Your perseverance paid off Greenie yet again some great shots. Well done.

ShySongbird said...

Well done Greenie, lovely photos. I'm so envious!! It sounded like a magical experience, I know I would have found it so. They are determined to elude me here just like they did in 2010/11.....I've even been dreaming about them!

Just n case you don't post again before Christmas, I wish you and Carol a very Happy Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2013.

Stephen Mills said...

Well done on your great shots of the Waxwings. I've still not managed to get to see them in the sunshine!