There are many reasons to book a stay at a B&B in Derbyshire, thanks to its breathtaking views of the Peak District and countless walking trails, but now there is another excuse to holiday there – to catch sight of some extremely rare birds.

Although the area is home to an abundance of flora and fauna, the county hit the news recently after more than 300 waxwings were spotted near Bakewell. 

This is one of the largest flocks of waxwings ever seen in Derbyshire, with as many as 365 reported on the Monsal Trail on December 31st. 

The record number of waxwings in the county is 400, with this sighting occurring more than 50 years ago in December 1970, so the recent spotting is extremely rare. 

Waxwings are from Scandinavia, and although they are annual winter visitors, this collection of birds is unusual. 

Author and naturalist Mark Cocker, who writes for the Guardian’s Country Diary, told Derbyshire Times: “I have waited half a century to see even a group involving three figures but the sight and experience of these hundreds is nothing short of wondrous.”

Mark is not the only one who has been blown away by the sighting, and he noted that “hundreds and hundreds of people have been to see them” already. 

As waxwings are very tame, they have not been bothered by the spectators, and are likely to remain in the area until the Hawthorn berries, which they are feeding on, have diminished.

Even to the untrained eye, waxwings are a beautiful sight. Smaller than a starling, the bird has a plump chest, a black throat and black eye mask, a yellow tipped tail, reddish brown feathers, and yellow and white wings. 

The writer describes the waxwing as the “continent’s most dazzling songbird”, so it is well worth a visit to see one before they fly back to Scandinavia in the springtime.

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