The waxwing is a winter visitor to the UK with birds typically arriving between October and December. In some years large numbers, called irruptions, appear when populations on the breeding grounds in Scandinavia get too big for the food available. The birds move in search of food increasing the chances of seeing one almost anywhere – even out here at St Kilda!
For the last three days there has been a small flock of 6 birds flying within the head dyke. They are a delight to see but will probably move on soon as there is a distinct lack of berries for them to eat out here!
The waxwing really is an exquisite bird. It is about the size and shape of a starling but has an incredible coloured plumage.
The chubby appearance of the waxwing makes it well suited to the cold but it has an elegant and prominent buff-brown crest, a black throat and a small black mask around its eye...
Its wing and tail feathers are tipped with yellow but its name is derived from the red tips to some of its wing feathers which were said to look as if they had been dipped in sealing wax.