Worcestershire Record No. 18 April 2005 p. 8


by Gavin Peplow

During this winter’s unprecedented invasion of Waxwings, several birds were observed to be carrying plastic colour rings. The majority of these birds were ringed in the late autumn of 2004 in north-east Scotland. The following provides a summary of these records:

Date of sighting Locality Colour ring combination Where colour ringed Date colour ringed Distance moved / Notes
28/12/04 Pershore OYW Inverurie, Aberdeen 7/11/04 c.720 km
12/1/05 Droitwich RG Inverurie, Aberdeen 30/10/04 c. 790 km as also seen in Huddersfield on 4/1/05
16/2/05 Upton Warren RR Possibly Sheffield ? Not specifically traced; colour rings also seemed to have some white on them but not seen closely enough to be sure
24/2/05 Evesham OYL Inverurie, Aberdeen 7/11/04 c.730 km
24/2/05 Evesham LO Inverurie, Aberdeen 31/10/04 c.730 km
5/3/05 Bliss Gate OBL Westhill, nr. Aberdeen 7/11/04 c. 710 km
5/3/05 Crossway Green OBL Westhill, nr. Aberdeen 7/11/04 c. 25 km !
5/3/05 Crossway Green xxY ? ? ?
29/3/05 Worcester RWRW Sheffield 12/2/05 Also visited Tunbridge Wells, Kent on 24/2/05 & Netherfield, Notts. on 27/3/05
R = Red; O = Orange; Y = Yellow; W = White; G = Dark Green; L = Light Green; B = Blue; x = unknown

In addition, another bird seen at Bliss Gate on 5th March 2005 was carrying a metal ring on the right leg but no colour rings. Such individuals clearly need to be re-trapped for the ringing origin to be determined. Interestingly the Bliss Gate birds moved to Crossway Green later in the same day and perhaps this was part of a more regular commute between these sites? These recoveries and others from around the Country indicate that Waxwings moved further west than normal during this winter and indeed Ireland also witnessed record counts during the first three months of the year.

It has been estimated that about 26,000 Waxwings may have visited Britain and Ireland this winter, providing many birders and non-birders alike with many hours of enjoyment, often whilst out on shopping trips! In Worcestershire, birds were seen on around 100 dates between November 12th and April 12th with the most seen on any one day being 298 on 30th January. This also included the largest individual flock of 246 in Droitwich – more than ten times the size of the previous largest gathering in the County!


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