3:44pm Friday 26th April 2013 in News
BIRDWATCHERS have reported ‘unprecedented’ sightings of a rare bird on an estate in Burnley, the latest date they have ever been seen in Lancashire.
Yesterday, twitchers recorded 13 waxwings feeding on berries at Barnes Court, on the Brunshaw estate.
The birds have normally migrated back to Scandinavia by the end of March but the unusually cold and prolonged winter has seen them stay here.
The RSPB estimates only 100 or less of the species winter in the UK, normally in eastern England and Scotland. Allen Rycroft, 66, from Cliviger, is a member of East Lancashire Ornithology.
He said: “There have been several sightings in the past few weeks of waxwings at Barnes Court and Grindleton Avenue.
“Waxwings have never been seen here this late. Our records show the latest ever sighting in Lancashire was in 1996, on April 17, in Darwen.
“They are a real treat to see with magnificent plumage. It’s great that they’re here in the middle of Burnley.”
The waxwing is a plump bird, which is slightly smaller than a starling.
It has a prominent reddish-brown crest with a black throat, a small black mask round its eye, yellow and white in the wings and a yellow-tipped tail.
It does not breed in the UK, but is a winter visitor, when the population on its breeding grounds gets too big for the food available.