A brand new year, and what a start. Just a few days into the month, it was brought to my attention that a dozen Waxwings were temporarily visiting a local town. This was very exciting, as I had yet to see a Waxing, as they are not a native British bird, but are a winter visitor that comes from places such as Scandinavia and Russia. They are pretty birds with a distinct quiff/crest and are the size of a Starling. They come to the UK to feast on berries, but it is not common for them to visit this far south. Some say that this was a sign that we are in for a extra harsh winter. We will have to wait and see. I popped along to see them a couple of times, where they were residing in a supermarket car park (which was where a good supply of berries were). Each time there were 30 or so other photographers and birders making the most of the opportunity. Being in a busy car park, meant that it did get a little chaotic at times, with admirers of the birds crowding around, whilst shoppers were trying to park and get by with their shopping. However, it was was great when a few of the public stopped to ask questions as they were very intrigued and wanted to learn more about the Waxwings. After a week or so of filling their bellies and exhausting the supply of berries, the Waxwings departed and ventured on to their next destination.
January also saw a lot of pretty Snowdrops starting to show and I am lucky to have quite a few scattered around the local countryside. A few more frosty days will help them along their way. And seeing the Snowdrops take the limelight, means that spring is just around the corner.
What excited me the most this month, was seeing my first Hares of the year. The Hares had been quite illusive for several months, as they tend not to be as active and visible through winter. This is partly due to their breeding season taking place from January until up until September/October, and are less active in between, which is when they might venture into the woods more (and gives them their nickname of 'Wood Cats'). Once they start to venture out into the open again, they are often seen chasing one another around and boxing, which is a sign that breeding will commence soon. Hares may be know as 'Mad March Hares', but they will box all through their breeding season, and it is usually the female Hare seeing of a male. And the best bit now that breeding season has begun, is knowing that beautiful Leverets (baby Hares) will start to appear in a few months time.
Seems appropriate to have a photo of a Waxwing to represent January.