Friday, 13 March 2020

Waxwings - a slow movement south

Lengthening days (and improving weather?) has recently seen a wee flurry of colour-ringed Waxwing sightings. With a small invasion and a decent crop of ornamental white and yellow rowan berries to feed on it has been a slow movement of birds south this winter, as can be seen on the map. Some have also remained locally. Looks like the rowans have run out though as recent photographs of colour ringed birds have shown them to now be feeding on tree cotoneaster, hawthorn and guilder rose.
Resightings of colour-ringed waxwings away from Aberdeen

Waxwings MY-LGG (metal ring over yellow ring right leg, light green over dark green over dark green rings left leg) and MY-WNR (white over black over red rings left leg) were together in a flock of 18 birds in Hessle, Hull, Yorkshire on 8/3/20. This was very interesting as they had both been ringed in the same flock on the same morning in a garden in Aberdeen on 7/12/19. In between however, MY-LGG was resighted in Thirske, N. Yorkshire (130km NW of Hessle) from 30/12/19 to 3/1/20 whilst MY-WNR was still in Aberdeen on 5/1/20. So they had caught up with each other again. Makes you wonder if they know?

LGG in Hessle, 10/3/20 Africa Gomez

WNR in Hessle 8/3/20 Steve Clipperton

Elsewhere, 2 were together in a flock on the Isle of Man on 22/2/20 and another in Shropshire on 6/3/20 while down the east side of the country 2 different birds were seen in Suffolk 20kms apart  and 3 days apart on 9/3 and 11/3.

RYW on the Isle of Man 22/2/20 Peter Christian

RBW in Wangford, Suffolk 11/3/20 Andrew Moon

Others remained a bit more locally. MY-YWG was in Arbroath on 8/3/20 with no previous sightings since being ringed over 2 months previously 82 kms to the north in Inverurie on 19/12/19.

YWG in Arbroath 8/3/20 David Mitchell

Finally, in a first for the project we have received news of a colour-ringed Waxwing which presumably remained in Norway during the same winter as an invasion into the UK. MY-YBR was photographed in Kapp, 100km north of Oslo on 21/2/20. It had been ringed last winter in Aberdeen on 24/11/18.

YBR in Kapp, Norway 21/2/20 Lasse Stang

There’s still time before the Waxwings start heading back to Scandinavia so if you get the chance please get out there and check for and report any colour-ringed birds you see. We have received sightings of 28 different birds away from Aberdeen out of 101 colour-ringed which is a tremendous return for a passerine. Like fishing we had a few blank days and lots of hard luck stories about the ones that got away but it makes it all worthwhile when we receive resightings of birds moving on. We are very grateful to so many observers and photographers, too numerous to list here, for reporting their sightings, many thanks to you all.

Please report any colour-ringed Waxwings to and/or