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Waxwings delight Norfolk twitchers

PUBLISHED: 14:17 26 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:52 30 June 2010

Several flocks of waxwings have arrived on the east coast of England, including in Norfolk, in the last few days.

The exotic-looking birds are regular visitors to the county over the winter, but have been comparatively thin on the ground this year, according to experts at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

Several flocks of waxwings have arrived on the east coast of England, including in Norfolk, in the last few days.

The exotic-looking birds are regular visitors to the county over the winter, but have been comparatively thin on the ground this year, according to experts at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

The discovery of a single waxwing near Norwich train station in early January by trust staff has been followed up by some more significant arrivals from continental Europe.

In the second week of February, several flocks arrived on the east coast of England, with two flocks in Norfolk, said trust education manager David North.

The first arrived at the Dussindale estate, Thorpe St Andrew, building to 20 birds over a few days. And a flock of 25 descended on rowan trees in Cromer, where they plundered the ripe red berries.

Only a handful of waxwings have been seen this year throughout the UK, said Mr North.

But the recent influx was predicted by birders, following a large numbers of birds coming into southern Sweden at the end of January. This suggested the birds had run out of food and were on the move.

"Waxwings are beautiful birds and are annual winter visitors to the UK from their breeding grounds in Scandinavia and Siberia," said Mr North.

"They quite often visit gardens, even in the very middle of towns and cities, where they are indifferent to people and traffic, and can be observed at close quarters.

"Favoured locations are the shrubs planted in and around supermarkets and in ornamental city parks.

"By this time in the winter, most berries and other fruit have long since been eaten.

"To encourage them into your garden, try putting out apples on your lawn."

Waxwings take their name from the small waxy red tips on the ends of their wing feathers.

They are often called bohemian waxwings due to their exotic, crested appearance.

To view images of them, visit the trust's online gallery at www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk.

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