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Not Really 'anoraks', But Close

2nd of May 2005

Residents of Chipperfield seem to be very interested in wild life and particularly in birds. I, like many I am sure look forward to Wendy’s Bathurst’s regular article in Chipperfield News. So, carrying on the theme I hope others will be interested to hear of our birdwatching outing in February. No, we are not ‘anoraks’ but always love watching the birds and would not go for a walk without taking the binoculars with us.
A friend came for supper with news that there were some interesting birds who had taken up residence outside a mutual friend’s house in a built up area of St. Albans. We were not very impressed when she could not remember the name and thought they were ‘lapwings’. Next day some knowledgeable bird watcher friends were round and reliably informed us that the birds were not lapwings but WAXWINGS and they had seen about eight of them that afternoon. We were very excited about this, because as many of you bird fans will know these are very exotic colourful looking birds which most people do not get a chance of spotting. Our enthusiasm at telling everyone after Church next day met with a stony response except for some visitors from Cornwall who were visiting friends. We were most disappointed that ‘Chipperfieldites’ did not share our enthusiasm.
With undampened excitement we set off to look for them in the Verulamium estate behind Waitrose in St Albans. A small crowd of folk complete with telescopes and binoculars soon helped us locate the birds. We felt a little out of place with the real ‘keenies’ but were rewarded with thrilling views of these wonderful birds. We saw about 12 of them close up, and could see their plumage and crest as they feasted on some berries of a rowan tree right outside the window of our friends house. Another of our friends had been there earlier in the day and had witnessed the poor demise of one as it flew into a window and unfortunately was killed but they had a really close view of one of these beautiful birds.
We called at our friends house for a cup of tea and had further viewings from the comfort of their home and then returned home very pleased with our first ‘twitcher’ experience.
Anne Stickland

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