Fortunate to see a flock of 30 waxwings in Soham feeding on cotoneaster berries

THIS year we are seeing more and more of, what was in the past, a rare winter visitor - the waxwing.

Although I have lived and worked in the countryside all my life I have not, until this year, seen this beautiful gregarious bird.

Over the Christmas period I was fortunate to see a flock of 30 feeding on cotoneaster berries in a garden in Bushel Lane, Soham. They appeared to be unaware of my presence as they were a mere 10-12ft from me and only took to the wing to a nearby silver birch tree when a car went by.

In winter the waxwing feeds mainly on the berries of hawthorn, rowan, gelder rose and a few others.

We are informed that the crop of such berries on the continent has been poor this year. This has caused the waxwing (and probably other species) to widen their search for food, hence their appearance in greater numbers in the UK.

JOHN AITCHISON

Qua Fen Common

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