Posts Tagged ‘Berries



A trip into the metropolis that is Norwich was a good opportunity to call on one of the side streets where a few Waxwings had been seen the day before.

Waxwings have not been that common this year – it’s not been a classic Waxwing Winter. It took me a little while to walk the area and find the likely tree or trees where they could be. There was only one. A tree covered in red berries. It was so depleted of leaves and so small I couldn’t even tell what type of tree it was but with the berries it looked like a good Waxwing tree. I brought the car, parked up opposite and waited. In the short time I was able to wait I never did see a Waxwing however a flock of Redwings came to gorge themselves on the berries. I adore these winter thrushes. These too have been scarcer up on the coast this year than normal.




A splash of Red

When Turner was painting he would often add a splash of red to break up a green and otherwise monotonous landscape. Red and green being at the opposite ends of the spectrum wheel the two colours complement one another.

It was one of those junctions where you have to look back hard over your shoulder for oncoming traffic. It was whilst craning my neck that I saw a flash of red in the hedge bottom. I pulled over to investigate.

It was the Lords and Ladies Berries that had caught my eye. When we started to look there were so many. The vivid red added a touch of colour to brighten the autumn day.

Cuckoo Pint Berries


Look and (maybe) you shall find

One thing I have always tried to do to when looking for wildlife is keep an open mind. I wish I had a pound for every time I have been told. “No, they don’t occur here!” Or “Naa I wouldn’t bother looking there”

I recently did a ferry crossing over the mouth of the St Lawrence in Canada. After an hour in a freshening northerly wind I saw something that looked like an auk cross the bow but it was shearing; fluttering and then gliding. The only small shearwaters that get seen in that area are apparently Manx and the odd Audubon’s. It was a Barolo Shearwater which should have been more at home in European waters. Who can blame the Canadian birders we met from giving me the inquisition. I found out subsequently several Barolos were seen around that time in Canadian Waters.

I went to Iceland in February to photograph Orcas. As we travelled out through the fjord we sailed through a flock of Red throated Divers. I saw a Black throated Diver among them. As they all got off the water the Black throated flew over the boat – I checked it thoroughly looking for the vent strap of a Pacific Diver – it seemed like the logical thing to do – but alas it was only a Black throated. Two days later, on return to the UK, I sent off my records to the Icelandic Bird Recorder only to have an email ping back at me to say it was a first for Iceland – I hadn’t appreciated Black throated Diver’s status in Iceland (I do now) – he shot up the island to try and relocate it!

What I’m trying to say in my naive way is it’s easy to make presumptions … but until you get out and look you never know what you might find.

I’ve just finished planting a shed load of berried trees and bushes here at Falcon Cottage in an attempt to bring in a Waxwing to the garden in a future winter. When you’re not out looking it pays to have things looking for you!

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Jun 2023


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