We scoured the area and my scouts told me three waxwing had been seen gorging on yellow rowan berries. For the next ten days we searched but could not find them. Then the snow came. It looked lovely but snow followed by ice and heavy rain put paid to my venturing forth for the first ten days of December.
One Boxing Day I stood in wellingtons in the snow beneath this birch tree and listened to twenty five waxwing chattering in its branches in the fog. They roosted there, safe in its high branches.
This morning I came up a flock of some 15-20 birds in that same Hupeh Rowan where I photographed them on 6 December 2016, and on subsequent days. I saw them well and in good light and did not make the mistake of immediately heading home for my camera. They didn't stay long so it was the right decision. And once again I scoured the neighbourhood hoping to pick them up, but I did not.
So I return to images I took of waxwing in December 2016, in this same rowan and in alder. They show the 'wax' for which the bird is named, scarlet feathers on the flank. And bright yellow at the tip of the tail. They're a striking bird.
I'd love to see them again but they follow the food source and there's not much left hereabouts.
To me, there is something magical about the boreal forest where waxwing breed. I've only visited the taiga in the spring solstice when Northern Norway and Finland was in the grip of snow and ice, although all the seabirds were preparing to breed at that season.