The other day I took note of a phrase coined by a fellow blogger – iago80 – when referring to a quick birding trip, he called it ‘smash and grab birding’ and I think that that very well applies to my visit to see some Waxwings earlier today. A group of around 5 of these scandalously beautiful northern punk pixies have been hanging around in the grounds of a local National Trust property (Wakehurst Place) feeding on the odd-looking fruit of a Handkerchief Tree for about a week. The temptation had become too much.
I managed to sweet-talk my mum into driving me over there (thanks mum!), when we reached the famed tree there were a couple of other birders hanging about looking shifty. They seemed to be looking up into the tree and as I got closer I could see the distinctive forms of 2 Waxwings – result! We then spent about 15 minutes taking photos and staring at the two lovely birds, who proceeded to wake up and start gobbling on the fruit not long after we arrived.
They were very tame, allowing us to stand within 2 metres of the tree, I could even hear them uttering quiet little trilling calls to themselves. This was easily the best, and longest view of this species I have ever had. It was interesting to note that only one of them had the red wax-tips to its wings and this one also lacked any white on the wing – whereas the other had both features. It started to rain so we left the birds to it, I was still in slight shock that we had seen them so easily – proper smash and grab birding!