If you’ve seen groups of people with binoculars and long camera lenses gathered around York city walls this week, here’s the reason why.
They are birdwatchers who have come to see the uncommon site of a group of waxwings visiting the city.
Bohemian waxwings, to give them their full name, have a large crest and colourful plumage. As one birdwatcher put it, they are ‘stunning birds’.
They only head to our shores every few years, and not often in the numbers being seen now.
Rob Chapman, of York Birding and the regional rep for the British Trust for Ornithology, was among those watching from the walls today (Friday).
“Every few years, you get a big influx of waxwings, when the berry crop fails in the Nordic countries, Scandinavia and the like, and and they come over to the UK,” he told YorkMix.
“Here in York two days ago, there were up to 42 on the corner of Nunnery Lane and Bishy Road.”
This afternoon, 18 were counted perched on a large tree on the corner of Nunnery Lane.
Every so often they would dip down to feed on the berries on the tree below, before a bus rounding the corner would scatter them back to the higher branches.
“They’re quite striking birds because they flock as well and they like to sit at the tops of the trees,” Rob said.
“They have a big crest and a sort of pinky-beige colour on the body – but the the wings have striking white and red markings on them.
“It’s maybe seven years since we’ve numbers like this – 2012 was the year I remember when there were 300 at St George’s Fields, I think that was the record.”