Follow in Nigel's Footsteps

Monday, 20 February 2017

Waxwings and Wheatear...

Better late than never I always say and yesterday I finally got the opportunity to try for some Waxwings that have been feeding on berry bushes in the central reservation of the A38 near Heathfield, Devon for over a month now. There were ten present although they weren't all immediately obvious, flying between the berry bushes and some taller roadside trees. Waxwings are so exotic looking and always a treat to see. My father-in-law had come along to see them too, his first ever. They always put a smile on your face.

Waxwing, Heathfield, Devon: R. Harris

Happy to have finally connected with them, we then decided to try for another long - staying rarity, the Desert Wheatear at Thurlestone in South Devon (see Dave Helliar's photo's from recent post). I've seen a few before in the UK so I guess there was no burning need to see it immediately but it has been here since early November 2016 and it was only another 30 miles from the Waxwings so...

Desert Wheatear, 1st winter male,  Leasfoot Beach, Thurlestone
R. Harris
Desert Wheatear, 1st winter male,  Leasfoot Beach, Thurlestone
R. Harris
Desert Wheatear, 1st winter male,  Leasfoot Beach, Thurlestone
R. Harris
Always singing, what a great little bird.
Desert Wheatear, 1st winter male,  Leasfoot Beach, Thurlestone
R. Harris
It's a beautiful and confiding little bird and it was happily singing in the warm almost Spring-like sunshine - not something I've heard in the UK before. It looked very at home and these photos could easily have been taken anywhere in its native Afro - tropical range. Here's a short video of it too:



We came back via Torbay in the hope of seeing some divers and grebes in the Bay but unfortunately it was surprisingly quiet while we were there. Half-a-dozen Cirl Buntings helped distract from the lack of other birds though.

Cirl Bunting, male: R. Harris
Cirl Bunting, female: R. Harris
Reed Buntings were also present.
 Not a bad day out and I'm finally starting to feel like I've caught up on some of the local birds.