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Crowds flock to Norfolk police station to catch sight of birds

PUBLISHED: 16:17 02 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:28 03 January 2019

One of the five waxwings that have drawn crowds of bird enthusiasts to Long Stratton police station. Picture: Trevor Mayes

One of the five waxwings that have drawn crowds of bird enthusiasts to Long Stratton police station. Picture: Trevor Mayes

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An arresting sight has drawn bird spotting enthusiasts and nature lovers to a Norfolk police station.

Waxwings have been seen feeding on rowan berries at a bush outside Long Stratton police station. Picture: Trevor MayesWaxwings have been seen feeding on rowan berries at a bush outside Long Stratton police station. Picture: Trevor Mayes

Binocular and camera wielding crowds have been staking out Long Stratton police station to catch sight of a group of waxwings.

Slightly smaller than a starling, waxwings are irregular winter visitors to the UK from their breeding grounds in the boreal forests of northern Scandinavia and Russia.

They only travel to mainly the east of the country in large numbers when they experience a particularly harsh winter or if there is a shortage of food.

Reddish-brown with a black throat, a small black mask round its eye, yellow and white in the wings and a yellow-tipped tail, waxwings are eye-catching birds.

Long Stratton police station next to the A140 has drawn birders keen to see five waxwings. Picture: Norfolk PoliceLong Stratton police station next to the A140 has drawn birders keen to see five waxwings. Picture: Norfolk Police

The appearance of five birds in Long Stratton, right next to the busy A140, has drawn people from as far afield as Suffolk and Essex.

Nature enthusiast Trevor Mayes, who lives in Diss, was amongst those taking photographs of the birds.

He said: “I got a message from a friend of mine to say they were back in Long Stratton for the second day I couldn’t resist. Plus it was the first time I have seen these let alone trying to photograph them. This is a contradictory thing to say but they come over each winter yet they are hard to find. So if you take note of anywhere down the east coast where they are spotted they will always draw photographers.”

Long Stratton is not the only place where waxwings have been seen feeding on rowan berries.

Waxwings migrate south from Scandinavia and Russia in search of berries due to harsh winter or food shortages. Picture: Trevor MayesWaxwings migrate south from Scandinavia and Russia in search of berries due to harsh winter or food shortages. Picture: Trevor Mayes

Groups of the birds have also been spotted over the festive period in Norwich at Walpole Gardens, near the underpass to Chapelfield Gardens, and off Union Street at Jenny Lind Park. There were also sightings at the end of last year in Hunstanton, Kelling and Sheringham.

RSPB spokesman Fabian Harrison, who is based in Norwich, said: “It’s great that so many people are able to view these waxwings in an open public place outside Long Stratton police station.

“Waxwings are not resident to the UK, but migrate south from Scandinavia to the UK every year in search of food and warmer climates.

“They’re especially attracted to berry-laden bushes such as rowan and hawthorn which are popular plants in urban areas like supermarkets and town centres – so always keep an eye out, you may just spot this rare seasonal visitor this winter.”

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