Waxwing and Smew

The weekend was a bit frustrating as I was working Saturday and then had a family meal Saturday night followed by a family Sunday. All very nice but I so wanted to get out to Gloucestershire and Worcestershire to catch up with the Waxwing, Glaucous Gull and Smew. Monday morning  found me out the house at 02.15 heading for work. I was pretty surprised to see a Barn Owl on a fence post in the rain. That shows how desperate for food they must be. Finishing at 12.00 and with the weather much improved I decided to head off to try for the Waxwing. It was just over an hours drive to Blackminster , I headed for the level crossing which is where the Waxwing tree was. As I drove past I could see the bird in said tree. I found somewhere to park close by and was soon enjoying great views of the Waxwing. It was totally unconcerned by the birders and toggers surrounding the tree. It spent most of the time either looking around and occasionally eating a few berries. It once flew to the top of a nearby tree but soon returned. The assembled throng gave motorists waiting at the level crossing something to look at while waiting for the trains to pass. I spent about an hour here enjoying fantastic views of what is one of the most charismatic birds around. The Glaucous Gull had been refound but I didn’t have enough time to go for that and the Smew so a decision had to be made. The Smew won so I headed off to another new site for me at Bredon Hardwick back in Gloucestershire. With directions from a birding friend I soon found the footpath to the Lake where I started to scan for the Smew. Conditions were challenging as I was looking straight towards the sun and the glare from the water was pretty strong. I checked out the whole Lake with no joy. I then started to scan the flooded areas but with the same result. One final scan of the Lake was started and I was well pleased to eventually find the Smew. It must have been hidden behind the Island when I had looked before. Also noted here were a Chiff Chaff and several Fieldfare. I was extremely pleased with the afternoon trip as these were two birds that I had not expected to catch up with this winter.

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