"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Saturday, 11 December 2010

A Wild Goose Chase

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.


Pete said...

my sympathies.....

there were some at kenilworth and a bittern at brandon...

Ragged Robin said...

LOL! Of course I am not at all jealous about your sightings today :D
There seem to be regular sightings of bittern(s) at Brandon - I might try and get there next week. Might be more rewarding than more waxwing searching - I've had brilliant views of bitterns at Brandon in the past.

The Wessex Reiver said...

Keep an eye out, the waxwings will head south with this next spell of cold weather. I'm sure you'll know this but look out for rowan berries which are their first choice as the long stalks make them easier to eat quickly. A bittern was also seen on the river Nene this week.

Ragged Robin said...

I'm still looking out for them Andrew. I know where all the rowan trees with berries are locally although unfortunately I can't find any of the ornamental variety with yellow berries which they are so fond of.

Visited an area of Solihull yesterday where they had been seen on Saturday but no sign. I think some of the reported sightings are flocks just passing through.

Its good to read of so many bittern sightings this winter.