This morning while I sat huddled under the duvet, drinking my tea in bed, contemplating the incredibly thrilling prospects for the day I saw a tweet by Paul Bowerman, a local birding expert, that made my little heart jump and I leapt out of bed, flung on many layers of clothes and begged Brian to come with me to Winterstoke Road to see 24 waxwings in a tree at Easy Fit. Brian found one of his big cameras and off we went. Winterstoke Road is in Bristol, about twenty minutes drive from where we live.
When we got there we drove up and down and there was no Easy Fit. I got my phone out and googled and found there was an Easy Fit in Winterstoke Road in Weston Super Mare, about 12 miles away.
I looked again at the tweet and realised that the birder’s home patch was in fact Weston Super Mare and even though he comes up to Bristol, well you see which way my thoughts went. LIttle tears of hopelessness came to my eyes. I have been waiting and hoping for another waxwing sighting since I missed seeing the ones in West Shrubbery before Christmas. They have been all over the country but none near enough to get to in a sensible time span.
“Oh, come on then!” he said, and we were off, speeding down the road to Weston Super Mare. We drove behind this lovely AA vehicle part of the way, great number plate!
We found the Easy Fit garage and we found the waxwings just where they had said they were! Brian and I have a thing about birds, we don’t do much birding these days on account of the excitable poodles who have a tendency to bark and chase things, so our birding is more or less on hold, but I do miss it and I do love the excitement of seeing something just a little bit different from time to time.
We last saw waxwings in Bristol a long long time ago, when Brian still took photos on film. They appear every so many years in large numbers in the UK. They come from Scandinavia and delight many people with their presence and their oh so pretty plumage. To find out more about them click on the link in this paragraph which will take you to the RSPB site.
Today was grey and overcast but as we got near the garage we could see them sitting in a tall tree. I squeaked and bounced on my seat! There were 24 beautiful, red wingtipped, quiffed little birds, unspooked by the traffic rumbling past and perfectly content with their current home near an excellent food supply. They were flying from their tall tree to the other side of the parking lot where there were berry filled bushes, picking a couple and then flying back to the tall tree to sit, rock in the breeze, digest and poo from a great height.
While we were there we met a great guy called James O’Connell, ornithologist, freelance film maker and passionate birder, making a film for the local news for tonight. He recognised Brian from when Brian used to go birding much more often down on the Somerset Levels. He has also been filming at Steart on the coast near Hinkley Point, where they are making a huge new saltmarsh reserve for wild birds. Here is a link to his new film Steart ‘The Flood’ on You Tube and we will be heading out to Steart again soon one of these days to see how it is all progressing.
Here are some of Brian’s photos of the ‘Easy Fit’ Waxwings. Aren’t they lovely? Brian is one of the kindest people I know, he put his morning on hold to go out there with me. I could have driven there, but I wouldn’t have managed the photos as you need a decent lens and a good camera to capture these speedy little birds in such poor light. Thank you darling!
(James O’Connell was taking some footage for the local early evening BBC news on 22nd Feb, if you switch on you might see the waxwings, if they run the story) and if you are near Weston Super Mare, the waxwings might still be there this weekend, so dust off your binoculars and go and see….