|Flock of Waxwing roosting on the side of Devon Expressway|
Our rather sad looking specimens with much of their colorific splendour drained out by the enveloping greyness made occasional risky efforts to feed on the last abject rose hips on the central reservation. They are under better conditions very jazzy birds, featuring a punky hair-do, black eye mask and accessorised with red and bright yellow feathers. Their mystery lies in part to due to their occasional mass migrations (‘irruptions’) from Northern area such as Scandinavia in tens of thousands into mainly Eastern Britain. However the extreme cold weather this February would appear to have driven them further to the warmer West Country. Their apparent tameness means that they seem relatively unaffected by human activities and so they seem unabashed feasting in a Tesco’s car park, or in our case amongst heavy traffic. It was fantastic to get my first glimpse of these quirky birds, but I hope next time that I come to meet them at a more attractive feeding location and that I do not have to wait another half a lifetime.