Watlington Hill Waxwing

My turn to get lucky! I’d love to say that following this autumn’s build of of Waxwings in the north and east of the UK, combined with recent northerly winds and last night being clear, that I deliberately positioned myself on a hill on the Chiltern escarpment to observe visible migration (actually, for future reference, that’s not a bad idea…) But today the reality was very different. I’ve spent recent Sunday mornings cycling increasing long distances out into the Chilterns and planned to extend that today. I was near the top of the very appropriately named Hill Road above Watlington, when the distinctive,  long, high-pitched trill of a Waxwing rang out from the sky above me and to my right. “Waxwing!” I instinctively called out, forgetting that in ascending Watlington Hill on a bike, speaking is not really an option: your lungs need every bit of breath they can get. Even better,  two seconds later it called again, this time high, from further behind me: the bird was in active flight moving south-west. This is, I think, the first record of Waxwing in Oxfordshire this year, though there are bound to more this winter and hopefully some of those will be more accessible, like the birds below (photographed in central Oxford in November 2012). Waxwings are fabulous birds and a Waxwing winter is a great winter. Bring it on!

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