Waxwings have made a welcome return to Montrose and the rest of the UK this month. There has been various sightings in gardens throughout the town and in St.Cyrus (see picture below), with the birds been drawn to bushes such as rowan and hawthorn, where they can feed on winter berries. They feed in tight flocks, taking part in feeding frenzies, spending time at the top of trees before calling out and descending in numbers to a berry bush. They will then feed hectically for a few minutes, often completely stripping part of the bush, before returning to the tree top.
Waxwings don’t breed in the UK, but are winter visitors, with numbers varying from year to year. In some years, such as this year, the number of waxwings greatly increases due to the population at their breeding grounds becoming too big for the food available. They are most commonly seen on the East coasts of Scotland and England but will spread inland in search of food, with numerous sightings in Ireland and the West coast of England this month.
So hopefully we will have some sighting on the reserve in the coming weeks, with the car park at the centre being the best place for waxwings in previous years. Otherwise, just keep your eyes peeled on berry bushes in the area and you might be lucky enough to spot one of these bohemian beauties.
Winter Opening Times
From the 1st of November the Visitor Centre changed its winter opening hours;
Friday – Sunday 10.30am – 4pm
These opening times will be in operation until the 1st of March, when we will return to normal opening times. The Bank of Scotland Hide is still open for use throughout the week, so just park at the top of the brae and use the pedestrian gate whenever the centre is closed.
Visitor Centre Assistant Manager.