Worcestershire Record No. 18 April 2005 pp. 5-6


Andy Warr, County Bird Recorder

With large flocks of Waxwings arriving in Scotland during November 2004, hopes were raised of small numbers reaching Worcestershire as they did in the previous winter. A bumper crop of rowan berries awaited any arriving birds and a single observed at the Moors Pool, Upton Warren on November 12th was an encouraging start, but was eclipsed by events still to come. Small flocks began to appear throughout December, with five in Bromsgrove on 9th, four in St. Johns, Worcester on 20th, eight in Pershore, including a colour ringed bird and 14 at Wyre Piddle Business Park on 28th and 16 again in Pershore on 29th. After the New Year, reports began to flood in from around the county on an almost daily basis. Counts of 20 to 40 birds were not uncommon, but the best totals were recorded from six localities. 112 were found in Kidderminster on January 8th and by the 17th had increased to 200 birds, Broadway held 66 on 19th, 96 were in Pershore on 24th, 246 in Droitwich on 29th, 130 in Worcester on 31st, followed by 150 the next day and 80 in Evesham on February 17th. Needless to say the Worcestershire record was smashed, with the best previous count being 24 in Dines Green, Worcester on January 7th 2004.

As if flocks of Waxwings were not enough, Worcestershire also produced two rare eastern Buntings; both attracted to game crops. The first to be discovered was a male Pine Bunting at New Farm, Wadborough on January 14th, by Gavin Peplow. Access and parking to the site was hastily arranged with the landowners, Barry and Wendy Steward and was open to visitors from the following morning. It was estimated that over 800 birdwatchers visited the site over a two-week period and just over £1,700 was raised towards the Tsunami fund. This record constituted the second bird for Worcestershire, the last being at Bibbey,s Hollow in 1996. A male Little Bunting, found by Brett Westwood near Caunsall on February 5th, was also a second for the county, the last being a singing male at Eckington on May 25th and 26th 1994. Again access was arranged and the bird, though very elusive, was enjoyed by many.

(Editor’s note. Waxwings continued to dominate the ‘bird news’ after Andy had written this article. In addition to large numbers several colour ringed birds were seen. Details of these, and a personal note about the rare buntings, written by Gavin Peplow follows this article).

Little Bunting at Caunsall ,Photos ©Andy Warr


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