WILDLIFE lovers in Winsford have been told to keep their eyes peeled.

A flock of rare waxwings, which only visit the UK occasionally, was spotted devouring a New Year’s feast of rowan berries in a garden on Chester Road, Salterswall, on Thursday, January 4.

These plump, starling-sized and beautifully coloured birds migrate to the UK from Scandinavia only when very harsh winter weather forces them across the North Sea to these shores in search of food.

When they come in great numbers, sometimes up to 10,000, it’s known as an ‘irruption’.

Their arrival caused quite a stir when the news was shared on the Cheshire Wildlife Watchers Whatsapp group, causing a dozen bird enthusiasts from across Cheshire to ‘flock’ to Winsford.

One such birdwatcher, Dr Paul Brewster, who managers a birdwatching equipment shop in Antrobus, Focalpoint Optics, managed to get some stunning pictures of the birds.

Moulton resident Paul said: “Waxwings are such charming and intriguing birds.

“They really aren’t shy of people, and they’re very photogenic.

“With a little patience, anyone could’ve gotten a great picture, even using a mobile phone.  

“They feed on berries and insects and are only occasional visitors to the UK, usually when they're forced to move south and west from Scandinavia due to harsh weather or lack of food.

“When this happens, huge numbers can descend on England, Scotland, and Wales, and any berry tree could attract a flock of these birds.

“They are especially attracted to ornamental berry trees, so keeping an eye on supermarket car parks or housing estates can pay dividends.”

As waxwings live and breed in Scandinavia, they’re more likely to be spotted on the east coast, so for them to be seen in Cheshire is something of a treat.

Paul says they’re voracious eaters, so are likely to move on to other parts of Winsford once they’ve got through all the berries in Salterswall.

“The rowan trees in the garden at Salterswall were soon stripped of their berries, so it may be worth keeping an eye open in the Winsford area, especially in gardens, as the birds could turn up anywhere.”