I had this Bohemian Waxwing bird picture as my mobile wallpaper from long time. It was brilliantly captured photo with the bird feeding on a mellow peach fruit, which had thin layer of snowflakes on it. Snowy background had brightened up even the slightest shade of colours. This brown bird with a crest, black bar over the eyes and yellow on the tail tip, few tiny red, white and yellow feathers on the wings, was very graceful which made me to keep this bird in my wish list.

Bohemian Waxwing, a winter visitor to Gothenburg

One day when I was still in India, Anoop sent me some images in WhatsApp. Oh! Those were of the flock of Bohemian Waxwings, feeding on red berries. When I called him, he explained where and when he saw them. That day, he went for a short walk after lunch. Just outside his office on a small plant which bore red fruits, these winter visitors were feasting. He could even go nearer and observe them. I envied him for spotting this beautiful bird.

Days passed, and winter ended. I moved to Sweden in the beginning of spring. With all the excitement my new life began. We started to travel around. I got a job too. Occupied with all these, I had almost forgotten about this birding story but still the wallpaper tried to remind me every now and then!

Time flew and again it was winter. That was the coldest winter I ever had.Words such as long dark nights, cold winds, dull grey days, bare trees, snow covered roads, frozen lakes, big warm jackets can be used to describe those days. On a similar wintry day when I was in office, got a crying emoji from Anoop! I asked him what happened. He said don’t feel bad, it just happened. Tell me what happened, and I won’t feel bad was my answer. He said that he saw Bohemian Waxwings again at the same place on the same plant! And added that he was sad as I couldn’t see that!  (Of course, it was a mockery)

Later we patrolled the same area over the weekends (I forced Anoop to come with me). There is a website called artportalen, which shows the different species records of the day throughout the Sweden. We regularly followed the website and visited the places where others had spotted these beauties. None of the efforts helped me to see the Bohemian Waxwings.

Fluffy guy

After a month or so, when the winter was almost at its end I got a call from my husband. He was asking me if I can come near his office to see the bird. I had to wait until lunch hour. Then took a bus and met Anoop. We walked towards the plant where he regularly saw those birds. The plant had mostly dried fruits with a Fieldfare perching on a branch. What a disappointment! Someone told me that birdwatching is just a gamble. I was not lucky then. Oh wait! What was it on another plant which was bit far from the scene? Was it a Fieldfare again? No. It was a lone Bohemian Waxwing. The bird was feeding on the dried berries. It appeared to me as beautiful as it was in my wallpaper. Finally I could move them from my wish list to check list.

Bohemian Waxwings breed in the Northern part of Eurasia and Northern America in summer and move out of the breeding range towards south in winter. There are three species of waxwings all over the world which includes Bohemian Waxwing, Cedar Waxwing and Japanese Waxwing. Brown and greyish body, black eye stripe, prominent crest are the common features of all three species. Also, they have few of the wing feathers with red tip which resembles the sealing wax. Hence they get the name waxwing.

Recently Anoop had sent another image of a place which I couldn’t recognize. When I asked him where that is, then he said it is the same place where we went to see the bird. Now the plants have been replaced by the buildings. I am ending the story here, sadly accepting the fact that there won’t be any waxwings visiting that place in the next winter.

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