Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Why Waxwings?

Waxwings, Waxwings everywhere. Down here they are easier to find than Greenfinches. Almost every blog that you visit will entertain you with images (yes Gavin, not photographs!) of the crested little fellas, all lined-up on a tree top like a group of Santa's elves. The only reason that I haven't uploaded any images (sorry Gav, really) of them is that I haven't taken any myself. Now, I usually rally against the ubiquitous on blogs. Every spring we parade pictures (pictures - just for you Gavin) of Wheatears, violets and Brimstone butterflies as if we are the only bloggers who have thought of doing so. Therefore we all end up with a parade of sameness. However, with Waxwings it's different. Why?

Is it because they a good looking? I don't think so. Bullfinches are good looking. So are Goldfinches, but we don't all get click happy with them, do we? Is it down to rarity? To a point, maybe, although they aren't really any rarer than a Common Redpoll this winter. And so far Mealies have been left alone by the camera pointers, haven't they. Maybe they are easy targets because they are relatively tame and sit on top of things? But so do Starlings.

I reckon it's a combination of all the above, plus a primal attraction to things nomadic. They come from the arctic wastes, hang around adding exotica to housing estates, industrial estates and roundabouts and then flee back eastwards when the berries have all gone. Plus, they also have one of the loveliest calls that a bird can make.

Even though I have seen hundreds of Waxwings in the UK, and quite a few in the past month, I still walk the streets looking for them. If I came across a flock tomorrow, I would still trawl the local area again the day after.

I think I might have stumbled upon the real reason that we cannot get enough of them. It's because we have no idea when they might come back and visit us.

1 comment:

Graham James said...

I think you're right Steve, it is the unpredictability (is that really a word?) of Waxwings that makes us want to get as many shots of them as often as we can. There may be loads of them around next winter too or maybe we'll wait another ten years for the next irruption into Britain.