Sunday, 28 November 2010

Waxwing Newtown

Waxwings in Coleg Powys car park, sun and cloud, heavy frost in the morning. c.40 waxwing feeding on ornamental rowan tree (orange berries). A rare sight in Mid Wales as these birds from breeding grounds in Northern Scandinavia rarely come this far South and West, but the cold weather has driven them further this year, coupled with presumably good breeding numbers this year to cause a waxwing explosion!
A good crowd have gathered to see the birds including bird ringers, giving me the opportunity to see a bird in the hand and compare the ages and sexes: juveniles have less yellow on the primaries which in the field form pale yellow stripes along the wing whilst the primary tips of the adults have bright yellow and white V angle markings.Females tend to have 4-7 waxy red 'droplets' on the secondaries whilst males have 6-8, also males tend to have larger and darker black throat patch.