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an old cynic's view

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Friday 25 February 2011: These chaps are the talk of the town

Imagine coming to Dumbarton for a wee holiday

Birds that arrive in the UK are most likely to be from Scandinavia or arctic Russia where they breed in spruce and pine trees of the Taiga. In winter, when their summer food of insects has gone, they rely on berries, and their winter distribution depends largely on the berry crops close to their breeding areas. In most years when local crops are good, they will move south and west, but not too far from the breeding areas, and only a small number will be seen in Britain. In poor berry years, large numbers of birds may move considerable distances and this is when we receive an influx in Britain. Some previous notable 'eruption' years are 1995/6, 1990/1, 1970/1 and 1965/6.

With the birds arriving from the Scandinavia, it is the east coasts of Scotland and England that see the highest numbers of birds. Small groups or larger flocks may start off in coastal areas, moving inland as they exhaust local berry crops. Birds are normally present in Britain from October or November through to March or early April and rarely later
They have caused quite a stir and have even been in the local paper so I thought they deserved a bigger audience
Campbell

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