Waxwing Hunt

On Friday Zahrah and I seized the day and drove out to Brampton, a town a short drive from Carlisle. We’d heard that the waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus) had been sighted there and we both wanted to tick this incredible bird off our wish lists, do decided to try our luck finding them. Waxwings arrive in Britain in winter and spend their time feeding on fat red berries.

After getting briefly lost and befriending several old people who told us what they knew about the birds’ whereabouts, we spent two hours wandering around residential streets carrying tripods and a felled tree, more appropriately named the Canon 50-500mm lens. We saw chaffinches, goldfinches and several tiny wrens hopping between the fruit-laden branches, but not the jackpot we were after. The trees looked beautiful with their autumn coats, so we had plenty of other photo opportunities.

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The car permit was soon to run out, so we started to head back. I’d just put the monster lens to bed in my bag when Zahrah noticed some dark dots at the very top of a nearby tree. On closer inspection, we were thrilled to discover we’d found our waxwings. A manic struggle to retrieve the telephoto lens ensued and I managed to take a few, slightly hazy shots. They didn’t come any closer, but I was mostly chuffed that we’d seen them. Decent photos can always come later.

After our success, we got lunch at Cranstons’ Food Hall and headed back to uni, just in time for our afternoon lecture.

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