Six years ago it was a similar mild and wet December, I happened to be looking on Twitter when I saw a tweet announcing that there was a large flock of Waxwings, at the Midlands best garden centre, Webbs of Wychbold in north Worcestershire.
It had been several years since the last irruption of Waxwings and it wasn’t a bird many people had seen, I had never seen any before and so like many people from all over the West Midlands region (and maybe further afield), I descended on Webbs of Wychbold.
Of course I took my trusty video camera along with me, it would have been madness not to get footage of these beautiful birds! Journalists at the local BBC Studios in Birmingham got wind of ‘something going on’ and so I decided to inform them of what it was and sent them a copy of the video I made (below).
BBC Birmingham loved my video, so I met up with Environment Correspondent, Dr David Gregory-Kumar and his lovely producer and cameraman, to be part of a news package on the Waxwing irruption (below).
Today I found out the collective noun for Waxwings is a museum or an earful. 😆
The now classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List, UK Amber and Red List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review and as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, Eurasian Curlew are still holding on at Upton Warren in the landlocked county of Worcestershire in the West Midlands region, and they can be seen throughout autumn and winter, roosting at The Flashes most evenings.
For waders they’re large and tall, approx the size of female a Pheasant – making them the largest European wading bird. Their haunting call (‘Cur-lee’) is unmistakable – it’s one of my favourite bird calls – it can be heard from February through to July on its breeding grounds; wet grasslands, farmland, heath and moorlands. From July onwards coastal numbers start to build up and peak in January.
Curlews feed on worms, shrimps and shellfish. The largest concentrations of them are found at Morecambe Bay, the Solway Firth, the Wash and the Dee, plus, the Severn, Humber and Thames estuaries. Their greatest breeding numbers are found in north Wales, the Pennines, the southern uplands and east Highlands of Scotland and the Northern Isles.
The agricultural intensification (e.g drainage and reseeding) of upland farmland and moorland – plus the afforestation of moorland – is a big factor in the decline of their breeding population.
The weather has been inclement again, and I was off to the N.E.C later as a member of Press, to report on BBC Gardeners’ World Live. So I opted to write a wild poem; I was happy there was a break in between showers, because I was able to get out into my partner’s garden to recite my poem.
After work, I decided to go for a nice stroll with a colleague and friend, Sophie. We sauntered around the semi-rural outskirts of Northfield Town Centre (in South Birmingham).
Before we got to the location Sophie had in mind, literally just a few yards from where we work, we noticed beside the path (there is a grass verge) was a patch of Bird’s-foot-Trefoil. I informed Sophie it is also know as Eggs and Bacon. We saw some bees buzzing around it, so we observed and followed them from flower to flower.
I thought it would be a good idea to combine a 30 Days Wild activity, with the BBC’s Do Something Great campaign! My parents needed some Broom planting, so I used this opportunity to my advantage – for a quick video: