Birdwatchers flock...to supermarkets!

TWITCHERS are flocking to East Anglia's out-of-town supermarkets – to train their binoculars on visitors to the car parks.The ornamental berry-bearing shrubs between the lines of parking bays are currently providing sustenance for waxwings – colourful birds which have arrived from Scandinavia and Siberia.

TWITCHERS are flocking to East Anglia's out-of-town supermarkets – to train their binoculars on visitors to the car parks.

The ornamental berry-bearing shrubs between the lines of parking bays are currently providing sustenance for waxwings – colourful birds which have arrived from Scandinavia and Siberia.

Numbers have been reported at the Tesco stores at Copdock, Colchester and St Neot's.

The birds have also turned up in car parks of other supermarkets, including Asda, Safeway and Morrisons as well as in people's gardens where there may be berries or fallen apples.

David North, a spokesman at the RSPB's East Anglia regional headquarters in Norwich said: "A lot of the supermarkets have cotoneaster shrubs in their car parks and the waxwings love their berries. However they will also eat any other berries including the hawthorn."

The birds are the size of a starling and have a head crest. Their bodies are a subtle blend of pink, brown and green while their wings have black, white, yellow and red markings. At the tip of each wing is a red tip – the origin of their name.

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Mr North said there had been scattered reports of waxwings from throughout the region.

"They come here when the berry crop fails in Scandinavia and Russia. Some years we get none and some years large numbers," he said.

Mike Everett, spokesman at the RSPB's headquarters at Sandy, Bedfordshire, said he shopped at Tesco in St Neot's and a few waxwings were continuing to attract bird-watchers.

Russell Slack, editor of the BirdGuides website, which monitors bird sightings in Britain, said: "Waxwings are awesome consumers of berries. A single bird can eat up to 1,000 berries a day."

Kevin Pleass, property services director for Tesco, said the company was committed to helping the environment in any way it could.

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