Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Winter wish-list

As the so-called ‘Indian Summer’ we’ve been having has finally come to an end and winter is fast approaching, I have compiled a list of the five winter visitors that I’d love to see over the coming months.

Originally, Redwing had been on this list but as I saw two of those a couple of weeks ago they can already be ticked off. A good start!

Waxwing – last winter was a good time for seeing Waxwings in London. Last December, I had my birding experience of the year when I saw three of them outside my office during my lunch break – the first time I had ever seen these very distinctive birds. Higher numbers of these can be found in towns during harsh winters as they come in from the countryside to look for food. At present I have no idea what sort of a winter we’re in for. But seeing Waxwings again would be great.

Brambling – these winter visitors can often be seen with flocks of other finches, according to my field guide. In the vicinity of where I live, Coldfall Wood is therefore a possibility due to the numbers of Chaffinches that I have seen ground-feeding there on occasions. It’ll take a bit of skill to identify them in such circumstances, but I’m feeling confident.

Fieldfare – one to look out for in parks. Not that I’ve ever seen one of these within the M25 before as, like the Waxwings, they only really come into the towns during harsh winters. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve not been looking hard enough!

Smew – a very distinctive wintering duck in South-East England, which I might get a chance to see at Brent Reservoir or Rainham Marshes. As anything may turn up at any time (the Waxwing sighting last year was proof of that!), I’m staying optimistic.

Goldeneye – as with the Snew, a distinctive wintering duck that can be seen on lakes throughout the country during the winter months. Maybe a long shot in the South-East, but I shall be keeping an eye out for it when I’m near water!

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