‘Punk rocker’ waxwings land in Scotland

EXPERTS are predicting a bumper winter for waxwings as the “punk rocker” birds return to Scotland.

The pinkish birds are about the size of a starling and have “swooping crests, orange, grey, and lemon-yellow tails, and wing feathers with waxy red tips”.

They breed in coniferous forests in Scandinavia and Eastern Russia, and usually spend the winter further south.

A poor crop of berries in Finland and Sweden is pushing the birds further west this winter, with the first arriving at Unst in Shetland last week.

The last influx of waxwings occurred in the winter of 2015-16, but the last “good waxwing winter” was in 2012-13, according to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

Rob Jaques, supporter development officer for the BTO’s Garden BirdWatch, said: “A real waxwing winter, when many hundreds of these birds visit our shores, is a rare occurrence, so it’s exciting news that so many of these snazzy visitors are on their way to us right now.

“Keep an eye on your garden, particularly if you’ve got a Rowan tree or a Cotoneaster, Pyracantha, or Viburnum plant covered in red berries.

“If you do get lucky, let us know by taking part in the BTO GardenBirdwatch survey.”

Read more stories on Scottish Field’s wildlife pages.

Plus, don’t miss photographer Kevin Morgans’ puffin pictures in the November issue of Scottish Field magazine.