Friday 19 January 2018

Waxwings go back to school and have a berry merry time

The waxwing, photographed by Gerry O’Neill, at DkIT
The waxwing, photographed by Gerry O’Neill, at DkIT

A beautiful Scandinavian visitor has just landed in Dundalk and has been attracted to a very specific place.

A group of waxwings has taken up residence in tall trees at O Fiaich College in order to eat the bright red berries of a cotoneaster tree growing in a courtyard at DkIT, according to local bird enthusiast, Gerry O'Neill who says the flock has made the trip to Ireland from the Scandinavian border with Russia because of a very poor berry crop there this winter.

Slightly larger than a bullfinch, the waxwing is a light brown colour, with small black patches around the eye and on the chin. The vent is dark red in colour, while there is a thin white stripe on the wing. Just below this white stripe is a small group of red feathers similar to a blob of wax, which gives the waxwing its name. They are probably the most distinctive bird to be found in Ireland at this time of the year.

Gerry said the birds last came here around four or five years ago and this flock were first spotted two weeks ago. He said: 'They are roosting in the tall trees around O Fiaich and are eating the berries from the courtyard in DkIT. They will be gone in a couple of weeks'.

More from Gerry on Twitter @louthbirdnews and pictures of the birds can be posted there too.

The Argus

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