Vagrants - not at Scoopy's

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Vagrants - not at Scoopy's
From: knightl <>
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 18:04:49 +1000

Rare visitors drawing flocks of eager ornithologists to supermarket car parks

By Terri Judd

20 January 2003

Waxwings, normally rare visitors to Britain, are arriving in supermarket car parks and becoming a focal point for birdwatchers.

The birds, which fly here in search of food from Scandinavia and Siberia, feed in flocks on the ornamental berry bushes that surround some out-of-town stores. Their presence has attracted "twitchers", who gather in the unlikely spots to watch the birds, which have pinkish-brown plumage, red and yellow wing markings and red-based curling crest.

More than 1,000 waxwings, which have a soft trilling call, have arrived so far.

There have been sightings at Tesco stores in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, an Asda in Durham and a Morrisons store in Hull.

Reports yesterday included 35 birds in Cramlington, Northumberland, 30 in Beverley, East Yorkshire and 15 in Colchester, Essex.

Over the past few years there has been an exceptional number of waxwings, which mainly feed on rowanberries in their native habitat, seeking food in the UK. Ornithologists say the birds choose supermarkets for the hawthorn or cotoneaster berries that grow in their car parks.

Russell Slack, editor of the BirdGuides website, which monitors bird sightings, said: "Waxwings are awesome consumers of berries. A single bird can eat up to 1,000 a day."

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