Since I moved to the UK this is the first proper Waxwing winter. I have seen a few this year already, but have not satisfied my appetite with them, yet. Today I got one step closer to catharsis, but I still need a really tame group in a frosty morning at eye level.
Anyway, today before work had an enjoyable hour or so with UEA ringing group mates. A flock of about 20 have settled in a park near my house for a few days now. As part of a national project, we tried to ring some today. When I arrived it was so mild they were flycatching from tree-tops and didn't care much about berries:
But later on they did come down to their favourite Rowan tree and we caught six! Fantastic birds. We had a nice selection of different ages and sexes. Those wings - wow!
Waxwing - adult male
Those waxy tips are just brilliant aren't they?
I didn't know that adult males have red waxy spots at the tips of tail feathers too:
Waxwing - 1cy female
1cy female (left), 2cy+ female(right). Note difference in pattern on primaries. The adult female had suspended its primary moult - outer primary unmoulted. This is an uncommon moult pattern, but it is mentioned in Laurent Demongin's guide.