Going Japanese

After a tip-off from Jesper about some Japanese Waxwings in the Summer Palace, I spent a couple of hours there on Saturday afternoon.  Eventually, after dodging the crowds to get to the north-west corner of the park, I discovered a mixed flock of Waxwings in a quiet corner.  Unusually, Japanese outnumbered Bohemian by about 4 to 1.  They were very loyal to a couple of ‘leylandii’-type trees, to which they frequently flew down to feed before flying up to some tall poplars to preen, rest and eat a little of the snow that had fallen overnight.

Despite the very overcast conditions, I was able to capture a few pleasing images.

Japanese Waxwings, Summer Palace, Beijing, 26 February 2011. Note the pale belly, bright pink tip to the tail and fiery-orange undertail coverts.

The black on the back of the crest can be seen well on the bottom left bird.

Japanese Waxwing take-off

Japanese Waxwing: close up of the wing and tail patterns

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About Terry Townshend

I am a British birder living and birding in Beijing from August 2010 until 2015. Through this blog I hope I can convey a sense of what it is like to live in this thriving, confident and contrasting city and the birdlife that can be found in its environs. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it! Terry Townshend, Beijing September 2010
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8 Responses to Going Japanese

  1. Norm Farrell says:

    Wow, Terry!

    Omedito Gozaimasu (Congratulations!!)

    What an absolute pleasure those photographs are! ( And one of the benefits of that soooo cold winter you’re having! )

    I didn’t get out today, so this has been my “fix”.

    Best and thanks!


  2. Norm Farrell says:

    And p.s.

    I meant to say that the kind of waxwing we have in the States is a Cedar Waxwing, and they would be right at home in the tree you pictured (perhaps a kind of Juniper as is the so-called Red Cedar in the eastern U.S.)

    You are lucky to have Jesper so close to steer you to such finding (waxwings if not junipers).


  3. Norm Farrell says:

    ( Sorry – I correct myself before someone else does it. It’s “omedeto”, not “omedito”. )


  4. Josie Rocek says:

    Just lovely. The are a bit prettier than our Cedar Waxwings here in the states. But then again I find all birds quite magnificent. Cheers!

  5. Norm Farrell says:


    Have you seen?? There’re so many waxings now that you can’t see the Great Wall!


  6. Ha ha.. Yes, they are everywhere….! Four still in Ritan Park this morning and Jesper reported 100+ still at the Summer Palace.

    Thought the blog header needed freshening up so this image of waxwings will stay for a while..

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