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Friday 29 October 2010


Stromness is covered with these winter visitors! (Thanks Jenny for the photo). They are called Waxwings (apparently their wings are not at all waxy but it's to do with the red tips looking lie ceiling wax).  They are such pretty birds and very vocal too.  There has been a sudden influx of the birds around the town of Stromness, though I haven't seen any on Graemsay. However they go for all the berries and I don't have any in my garden so that's probably why they are not visiting *me*!  But it's lovely to see such colourful birds flying around on a grey day.

Other "Nature Notes" - the BBC "Autumnwatch" programme has a team on the island of Stronsay (one of the more north easterly of the Orkney islands) and there is a live webcam of grey seals pupping running over the next two weeks (hopefully those outside the UK can get this too). So take a look at the webcame here


  1. A friend used to have a huge holly tree by a window. The cedar waxwings would land and strip it in a couple of days. And then be drunk for a couple more days. Lots of fun to watch.

  2. Louise from Seattle29 October 2010 at 19:17

    We have cedar waxwings here, too! I love finding out the wildlife we have in common. But you have us all beat with the remarkable lapwings, possibly the prettiest bird I've ever spied!

  3. We have these birds here in Saskatchewan too; your photo is of a Bohemian waxwing, I think -- cedar waxwing is "smaller; slight yellow wash on belly; lacks red undertail coverts and white in wings; calls are much softer." I've been meaning to get a mountain ash tree planted in the yard to bring them in. Last year a flock swooped over and sent in a scout, who checked out the bird feeder and apparently reported back that there were none of the berries they like, so they swooped off again. Darn it.

  4. We see cedar waxwings in Minnesota regularly. We've had them in our yard, but this fall we had to remove the mountain ash tree they loved.

    "© Debbie McKenzie

    A treat to find in your binocular viewfield, the Cedar Waxwing is a silky, shiny collection of brown, gray, and lemon-yellow, accented with a subdued crest, rakish black mask, and brilliant-red wax droplets on the wing feathers. In fall these birds gather by the hundreds to eat berries, filling the air with their high, thin, whistles. In summer you’re as likely to find them flitting about over rivers in pursuit of flying insects, where they show off dazzling aeronautics for a forest bird."

    Cedar Waxwing

  5. I like the idea we have "bohemian waxwings"! Tee Hee! There certainly seem to be a number of varieties of them. They all seem to be pretty, chatty birds with a love for berries!

  6. Hi, just stumbled onto your blog and was thrilled to see a bohemian waxwing! We get cedar waxwings down here in Texas during the winter, and they are a treat to watch. :)