And they didnt disappoint. I've seen Waxwings before but they've been flying over or far away. The South Ealing lovelies gave me some cracking views today.
There are nine Waxwings there at the moment, and they fly constantly from the pink berry bush in someones front garden to the tallest tree by the station platform. There is a resident Mistle Thrush, who although doesnt physically attack the Waxwings, does chase them off as soon as they land in the pink berry bush (I keep saying pink berry bush as Im not 100% sure what variety it is. Sorbus ?).
Spent a very pleasing 90 minutes there then made my way to the London Wetland Centre. The weather still looked promising so was hoping to get some nice shots.
Popped into the first hide (the Dulverton) to find some of my birder friends already there and peering intently out of the hide window. A Bittern was sitting low in the reeds less than 10 feet away from the hide. His beak and head were barely visible, and I got no photos at all, although Oscar Dewhurst and some others managed to get some shots. There are six reported Bitterns on site at the moment, an excellent number considering the London Wetland Centre is still quite new (less than 15 years old). While we were all waiting for the Bittern to move, the red head Smew came briefly into view. This bird has been hanging around the Wetland Centre for a couple of weeks now, and appears to be quite happy. Below is just a record shot for me.
There are good numbers of ducks at the Wetlands at the moment. A large raft of Gadwall landed while I was there and two drake Pin-tail Ducks. All over the site you can see large numbers of Teal, Shovellers and Wigeon. From the Peacock tower you can get good views of Common Snipe. There were four today openly bopping around. I also got to see some lovely close ups of the Lapwings. I love these little birds. They're so adaptable. They can be seen on farmers fields as well as on large bodies of water. One of the best indications of a raptor in the area is when all the Lapwings take to the air.
So eventually I went home with a smile on my face. Day one of four days off and I'd seen Waxwings, Bittern and a red head Smew. Bring on the vino........