I chauffeured my daughter to south Birmingham this morning and, rather than waiting in the car reading for an hour, I remembered that 5.5 miles away in Kings Norton there was the possibility of a flock of waxwings. A local bird forum had reported 25birds on Tuesday and they were still there yesterday afternoon. Too good an opportunity to miss, I thought.
On a good day the journey should have taken about 15 - 20 minutes which would allow up to half an hour to search for the birds in the road where they had been seen. But, of course it was a Saturday morning 2 weeks before Christmas and I had to queue through 2 shopping areas on the journey so it took me almost half an hour to get there. I reckoned I could still spend 15 - 20 minutes there even if I did incur the wrath of my daughter if I returned late to pick her up.
I found the road and a row of trees with berries without any problems and managed to park right opposite. But was there a waxwing anywhere in sight? Of course, not!!!I kept scouring the trees and nearby house roofs with binoculars (feeling as conspicuous as one does in the middle of a housing estate!!) but the only birds I could pick out were a pair of blackbirds eating the berries. To be fair I suppose I would have been lucky to spot waxwings in the 15 minutes I was there. Luck does not seem to be on my side in my waxwing quest!
There have been several sightings in Dorridge so I may check that area out within the next few days but there again it would probably be yet another fruitless search so perhaps not!
There is nothing new to report from the garden birdwise just the usual species feeding - blue, great and coal tits, robin, blackbirds, house sparrows, dunnocks, greenfinch, magpie, wood pigeon, goldfinch, great spotted woodpeckers and plenty of these
hoovering up all the food as soon as I put it out. Although having read an article a few months ago in BBC Wildlife Magazine by Steve Harris extolling their virtues and usefulness, I have tried very hard to learn to love them. I must admit their plumage is colourful and fascinating in its variety and I'm trying to watch their behaviour closely - some of their antics are very amusing if you can drag yourself away from thinking of them as "flying rats".
Oh and well done to Villa for beating the "Baggies". Nice to see some players back from injury and, at least, Villa played a lot better today than they did on Monday.