Sunday, 5 December 2010

Newtown Waxwings 2

Warmer, sun and cloud 12.00-14.00. c.20 Waxwing at Coleg Powys feeding on hawthorn along the railway. Filling there crops and returning to perch and preen for several minutes in tall trees, some birds passing berries in courtship.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Llyn Coed y Dinas (Welshpool)

Overcast with brief bursts of sun and flurries of snow, -7C min, -2C max. The lake is frozen over apart from a small pool in front of the hide. Teal, wigeon, mallard and lapwing huddle along the shore of one of the islands. Occasionally the birds lift onto the lake, flushed by a buzzard or on a couple of occasions, a peregrine. Teal dabble for food in pockets of water as the shallows become free from ice in the rising daytime temperatures. The composition evolves, beginning with the lapwing, middle left, and grows outwards trying to balance the red heads of the male teal and lead the eye using counterpoint helped by the snowy bank. Towards dusk the temperatures plummet again and the paint becomes noticeably harder to move on the palette and by 16.00 it has completely frozen.

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.