Waxwings and a shrike wing in to Budby South Forest

If you happened to be at Budby South Forest on Saturday (13th January) there is just a chance that you may have seen waxwings in a tree close to the north eastern boundary of the reserve.

This year has been a particularly good one in the UK for waxwing sightings, with good numbers of the Scandinavian visitors reported at various locations around the British Isles.

At around 2.30pm on Saturday a group arrived at Budby, sparking a little excitement from the lucky few visitors who were present at the time, a number of who admitted that they had never seen a waxwing in the wild before.

Waxwings are a stunning sight (even in the fading light of a winter afternoon), with colourful markings and a distinctive crest. While they do not breed in the UK, they do visit in the winter months.

In some years, their numbers are greater and their breeding grounds just aren’t big enough to feed the population, prompting many to cross the North Sea to find more food.

This natural phenomenon is known as an irruption.

Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus. Photo by Andy Hay RSPB Images.

The arrival of the waxwings follows hot on the heels of several sightings of the great grey shrike at Budby too.

The shrike only visits the UK in small numbers during the winter, so to have one at Budby again is really exciting news.

You can see recent posts about the shrike at Budby and more local waxwing sightings here: Notts Birdwatchers X

Great grey shrike. Lanius excubitor. RSPB Images