Sunday, 9 January 2011

The Hemel Hempstead WAXWINGS - Mike Nott

The Hemel WAXWINGS were at the entrance to the Dixons Offices on Wood End Lane today - my photographic efforts displayed above. I arrived about 12:30 and no one else was there. I had seen about 60 birds briefly the previous day, so I was pleasantly surprised when I opened my car door to hear the sound of many waxwings calling. About 60 birds were in an old vine covered tree on the other side of the road to the car park entrance and were flitting down to a bush on the far side of the car park entrance to eat the berries. They seemed very settled and there were normally 10-30 birds on the bush at a time. By now some other birders had arrived including my friend Dave Hutchinson who crossed the road and starting taking pictures from below the perched birds in the vine covered tree. I joined him and we were both subject to a shower of berry parts and perhaps other, more bodily processed, material. These were certainly the most accommodating Waxwings I have seen so far. What was surprising was that for a period of ten minutes the Waxwings flew down and drank and washed in a puddle of water on the road near the kerb, only moving when the frequent cars went by. A new birder arrived who parked his car on the opposite side of the road directly opposite the feeding birds, opened his window and took pictures without even getting out! Over the next thirty minutes small flocks of 20+ birds flew off north until only about 10 were still there when I left at about 1:30 pm. The hedge that runs north from the point we saw the birds today into the Spring lane estate is stuffed with berries, so they may be there for some time (Mike Nott).

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