White-throated Sparrow...What a bird! What a song! What a winner!
Martha had asked me to pick her up from college in Exeter today, which was good because it gave me the perfect excuse to pop over to the Marsh Barton Trading Estate and see the flock of 29 Waxwings which are feeding on some ornamental rowan trees outside a couple of massive car dealerships. A horrible place brightened up beautifully by these gorgeous chunks of loveliness. I watched them for 85 minutes before leaving to pick up Martha, during this time they flew to the berry trees just seven times (so once every 12 minutes) and were only feeding for a maximum of fifteen seconds each time before returning to a small ash tree in the adjacent road. So in almost an hour and a half they were only actually feeding for less than two minutes! Whilst sitting in the ash tree waiting for an opportunity for their next 'sortie' they gave superb views and their constant trilling was just delightful. It's very easy to see how they got their scientific name Bombycilla garralus (Chattering Silktail) It was raining all the time I was there and the skies were leaden but it didn't dampen my spirits and I had a stab at digiscoping them all the same. It would have been rude not to! It's always worth a try - never say die. Turned out quite well in the end. I'm back at Marsh Barton tomorrow getting the car serviced so I might see some more.
The tree in the foreground is the rowan that the birds were feeding in.
Notice how the ornamental white rowan was obviously grafted onto a wild rowan rootstock which is growing in the natural state with red berries from ground level. The Waxwings prefer the little white berries though. Some of the birds are visible in the ash tree behind the leftmost yellow flaag.
Actually they are exceptionally water repellent you can see the tiny water droplets on them in these photos if you look closely)