Well well, only a couple of days ago I was bleating on here about having missed a patch Waxwing due to not actually being on the patch. Again. I surprised myself by being fairly relaxed about it, thinking that there were loads about and no doubt I would get one soon. Well, soon turned out to be very soon. This morning in fact. And best of all? From the garden - get in!
I'd been having a fairly good morning. No ticks, but some quality garden sightings. A juv Mute Swan had gone over (second garden record in six years), as well as two Skylarks, and the sky was filled with Fieldfare and Redwing. Starlings had been much in evidence, and when another small group appeared I didn't really look at them. Until they started trilling, that is. Oh. My. God.
Waxwings!! I could scarcely believe it, but they had trilled hadn't they? I quickly swung the camera up and predictably it hunted for focus. When it eventually snapped in the birds were a little way past, but peering at the screen it was clear I was right. Waxwing on the garden list! And indeed the Wanstead list, superb! Somewhere between six and eight birds - this from counting blurry blobs across several different photographs.
Perhaps not my best photograph ever, but certainly one of the most pleasing, and allowed me to rule out Cedar Waxwing as well. Phew. Shame that they were only a fly-over, but who knows, perhaps there will be more, it seems the invasion has only just started?
Flush with success, I carried on. Heaps of finches, many frustratingly silent. Those that didn't call I attempted to photograph, but looking at these tiny monochrome blobs on my screen I am none the wiser and tomorrow won't bother. Counted over eighty Chaffinches and at least thirty Greenfinches, but it took until about 9:30 before I heard a lone Brambling call. I scanned the sky but couldn't see any birds at all, I guess sometimes you manage to look all around a bird. This was another patch and garden tick. Winter, you can't beat it.
A few more big flocks of Fieldfare went over, peaking at about 65, as well as a lone Mistle Thrush. I've just come back in as the rain has become more persistent, but my mornings work has netted 28 species and two patch ticks. The record, if you have been paying attention, is only 32 species, so I may make another cup of tea and get out there again. Still need Jay, Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock and all the Woodpeckers. But it will mean getting wet, and I am more than satisfied with what I already have, so I doubt I'll bother. But if I do, you'll hear about it here. Lucky, lucky you.