Rare waxwings draw twitchers


Twitchers have been gathering in Bexhill following the arrival of some rare feathered holidaymakers.

A seven-strong group, or an ‘irruption’, of waxwings, has been spotted in the Woodsgate Park area over the last couple of weeks.

The small starling-sized birds only travel to the UK from Siberia and northern Scandinavia when they experience a particularly harsh winter or if there is a shortage of food.

So many have been spotted across the country this year, the RSPB has described it as a ‘Waxwing Winter’.

The first British arrivals each winter are usually seen on the east coast from Scotland to East Anglia, but birds move inland in search of food, increasing the chances of seeing one inland.

Ben Andrew, RSPB Wildlife advisor, said “Waxwings are such colourful birds with a perky crest, which makes them stand out.

“Because they are winter visitors most of us are probably not as familiar with them as we are with our resident birds, so that just adds to the excitement when they do start to arrive.

“Waxwings often travel in flocks and move around together, taking advantage of a good food source and then moving on.

“They are not fussy about where they eat and it’s quite common to see them in town centres or supermarket car parks, or pretty much anywhere that there are suitable berries like rowan, hawthorn and cotoneaster.”

Bexhill resident Mel King is among the keen photographers who have captured the beautiful birds.

She said: “I’ve heard they are quite rare. Someone said they were last here 10 years ago but another person said it has been 25 years.

“Someone else said they will probably be there until March now.”

She added: “When I was there on Thursday, one couple had come all the way from Worthing to see them.”