Mandarin Ducks and Waxwings!


Today was absolutely fantastic as my dad and I met up with Fiona Austin who we previously met at Boat of Garten but had kept in touch with! She is an amazing photographer and a really nice person!

We met at RSPB Lochwinnoch Nature Reserve and then decided to head off to a place called Balloch where Mandarin ducks are recorded frequently. When we arrived we headed straight to the spot they were recorded and sure enough they were there posing for photos (3 Drakes, one female). I got a bit wet from crouching down in water to get in level with them for a decent photo but it was well worth it.

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) (drake)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) (drake)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) (female)

Whilst we were there, we started discussing how nice the female was too. Most people underrate her but we don’t! Here is a close up of her so you can really see the details.

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) (female)

After Balloch we headed up to Edinburgh where 200 waxwings were spotted on a previous day. There were two sightings from the morning. We tried the locations suggested but were unlucky. We then took a gamble and drove up to Dundee Street where they had been seen previously and of course they were not there. We were determined to see them so we drove around a few more streets looking until we finally decided to stop and just wait. As we parked up next to Victor Paris on Dundee Street we were amazed to see a flock of over 20 waxwings flying around! They stayed in the same area for ages and were constantly being joined by other flocks. Eventually there were more than 200 but they were not staying on berries long. They would fly around for ages and then come down for no more than 10 seconds at a time. After eating a few berries they would fly into higher trees and just wait until they felt the need to fly down again.

Waxwing/ Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)
Waxwing/ Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)
Waxwing/ Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)
Waxwing/ Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)

As they would fly about in circles for at least 2 minutes at a time it reminded everyone watching them of a starling murmaration. It was almost unreal!

Waxwing/ Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)
Waxwing/ Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)
Waxwing/ Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)
Waxwing/ Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)

The light was fading and the birds left. I’m assuming they all went to roost somewhere. Even though we looked mad and got some dirty looks from people, we still had a brilliant time! Some people even stopped for conversation.

Fiona Austin
Fiona showing off her climbing skills!

It was time to go back to Lochwinnoch and say hello to the staff there. After that we had to leave and say goodbye to Fiona who said she had a great day!

4 thoughts on “Mandarin Ducks and Waxwings!”

  1. Hi Michael,

    Another great day for you – and some stunning pictures. Mandarin ducks are something else! I have not seen one – ever! Hope you have dried out now!

    Thanks for a great report of a very interesting day.

    Best….and have a great Christmas.

    Keith

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  2. What a beautiful photographs Michael you are truly talented… I loved your article too very interesting … Teresa x

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