Happy New Year!
After being laid low with a virus over the Christmas period and with the weather being so poor for ages, I was straining at the bit to get out today when there was a brief glimpse of the sun. I knew the window of opportunity was going to be small, so Sarah and I decided to stay close to home and go to Howe Bridge Crematorium in Leigh where up to 12 Waxwings have been regularly reported over the last week.
At first I was a little unsure about whether it would be OK to take photographs in such a solemn place, but when we arrived there were as many photographers as Waxwings! I soon met up with David Shallcross, Chairman of Leigh Ornithological Society, and Alan Flavell from my 'Birds and their Habitats' class in Whitefield, and I could also see Pauline Mellor Greenhalgh with her husband Ian there too.
True to form, the Waxwings perched in one of the higher trees and tinkled away before a few periodically flew down to the one berry-laden tree in the area - a small ornamental Rowan tree. The birds were not at all bothered by the attendant people, and very close views could be had without them flying away.
During our short stay here a large group of about twenty or so leather-clad bikers arrived and, from a distance, I could hear them making jokes and comments about the birders - I briefly thought we might be in for a bit of trouble as they made their way towards us.
As it turned out they just asked what we were looking at and why they were special and so I duly told them and showed them some of the photos on my camera. One or two of them were pretty impressed with the colour and form of the Waxwings and one girl even took a photo of the photo on the back of my camera! They went off to lay some flowers on a nearby grave and even came for another look on the way back.
Well all this just goes to show that you can't judge a book by it's cover, and that works in both directions!