Birdwatchers flock to Ipswich after waxwings sighting

People in Ipswich have been “very lucky” to spot birds that has been drawn to the town from Scandinavia to feast on berries, a charity said.

A group of waxwings has been spotted in Blanche Street in the town centre.

Birdwatchers have been flocking over the past week from places including Chelmsford and Romford, east London to catch a glimpse of the colourful bird.

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) said waxwings were “rare, but regular winter visitors to the UK”.

A spokesman for the Norfolk-based charity said a few make it to Britain most winters from forests in the far north of Europe, but “sometimes a lack of food in their usual wintering grounds can push thousands as far as the UK”.

He said waxwings particularly liked red berries, and as rowan and hawthorn trees were often planted in urban areas, it was not “too surprising” to see them in Suffolk’s county town.

However, he added: “There aren’t many around this year though, especially this far south, so the people of Ipswich are very lucky.”

Paul Richardson

Paul Richardson said he travelled from Chelmsford to see the “beautiful” birds

Paul Richardson, who travelled from Chelmsford to catch sight of the birds between the middle of two blocks of flats, said they were “fantastic” to watch.

“Occasionally we get them in East Anglia so they’re always a bird worth watching,” he said.

“They’ve got beautiful colours, they’re really beautiful birds.”

Stephen Elwell, who travelled from Romford, said: “It’s a stunning looking bird and quite rare at the moment.

“Seeing such an iconic bird in a suburban setting is amazing.”

Judith and Barry Livermore, from Colchester, said it was “really spectacular” seeing the waxwings and “worth the trip”.

The BTO said there was a poor crop of berries in Scandinavia last autumn and many people thought the UK might be in for a “real ‘waxwing winter’ but this doesn’t really seem to have materialised”.

It said the last real influx was in 2012-13, but there were good numbers in 2015-16 too.

Find BBC News: East of England on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have a story suggestion email [email protected]