Saturday, November 06, 2010

Waxwings - Oct. 25th 2010 a day we'll always remember.

 Waxwing looking rather heroic.

Waxwing invasion at the Auld Haa House, Fair Isle, Shetland Islands, Scotland, UK.
Bohemian Waxwings feeding just out side my window! What could be better than that?

Waxwings out my window on a rainy day like the day before...


Waxwings out my window on the stick I have to photograph and feed birds on this sunny day.


A flock of 12 to 16 Waxwings had been in my garden for a few days eating old apples, plums & cranberries I had stuck about on sticks and branches. The birds had gotten used to me taking photos of them from a few feet away from the other side of my windows where I had placed apples. Liz my wife was away in Shetland. Henry was home from school and I was enjoying the whole morning photographing the feeding birds. If only I could get this close with no window in the way? So I found the longest stick I could find... hello! this is Fair Isle? No trees! I got this one from a stock pile I have been collecting from sea shore, but it seemed a little short. I stuck 2 halves of an apple on the branch and had Henry stick it out the front door. The first few birds landed on the stick for the briefest of moments, but as soon as one started eating the others happily joined in.


The first Waxwing on the stick from the inside the front door looking out.


We could now move slowly out of the doorway and into the center of the garden. It was amazing...
The Waxwings had no fear of us and didn't mine us taking photos as long as we had apples.
  
Who's looking at who?

 to see birds like this...

The Waxwings eat till the apples fell off the stick.
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Stick in one hand, my camera in other.



Henry & the Bohemians

I had just put new apple on the stick for Henry to continue feeding. Then I picked up off the ground what was mostly just the skin of an fallen apple, they must of been drunk from the fermented apple juice or something because next thing I knew they were perching on my finger tips eating away. You can see the apple juice had stuck the feathers together on the birds neck as they would put their whole head in the apple skin to get every bit.

The Bird at Hand...

A bird in the hand is worth a thousand words.


Not to be out done, Henry gives it a try... but with 2 new apples halves?


Ouch!!! now what is he complaining about?

These are wild birds don't forget and some of the birds must of thought Henry's little finger tips were berries and gave him little nips! Henry was sort of crying with laughter in total awe; the birds didn't even fly away. They just turned their head and looked. I love the looks on the bird faces like they are wondering what's up with this kid?


Waxwing Juggling

Look at how he is now hiding his finger under his thumb so it doesn't get bitten again. Waxwings were in our garden for over a week, but they only came to our hands this one day. A total of 8 or 9 was the most Henry ever had at one time, and 39 was the peak garden count. Waxwings have been recorded all over Britain earlier and in greater numbers this Autumn. If you have any old fruit please put it out for the birds. The truth is on Fair Isle there is not much food left for migrating birds this time of year, and this is proof of that sometimes you'll do anything for a free meal.

It's not sunny everyday on Fair Isle...

Note the new ankle bracelet complements of the Fair Isle Bird Observatory. I took this photo through my window... I felt sorry for the birds being out there in that storm. If you look close, you can see the water droplets splashing of the birds back. I'm trying not to project human emotions on the facial expression of this bird, but what a look!

Henry & I took turns taking photos of each other... he's much cuter

That is a real Fair Isle knit hat! made on Fair Isle!

This will always be a sunny memory for us!

We are so glad that so many other people are enjoying & sharing these photos that I added more photos and info to the original post. If you click on the photos they get bigger. Cheers! Tommy & Henry

Comment box is full! for more Waxwing photos & more comment space see the next post...
http://fair-isle.blogspot.com/2010/11/hey-dad-this-is-like-fishing-for-birds.html 

103 comments:

  1. Wow, how gorgeous, loved reading about your day to remember and I am totally jealous!

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  2. Fantastic photos and must have been a brilliant experience! Keep up the blogging - you've set yourself a high standard ;-) Look forward to many more....

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  3. What an experience. A brief moment in time that will be remembered forever.

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  4. Absolutely amazing. Awesome stuff.

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  5. What a fabulous thing to experience.I'm so jealous.

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  6. Hello, I found you thanks to Sian at Life on a Small Island. Love your amazing bird and fish photos, and I also greatly admire your hats! Please keep blogging about life on Fair Isle, I would be really interested to learn more about it.

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  7. This is just fantastic, thanks so much for posting.

    I'll be carrying fruit-on-a-stick with me around Brighton, just in case.

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  8. Great photos of a wonderful event.
    p.s. I got the link to your blog from Sian.

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  9. Fantastic pictures, what a brilliant experience!

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  10. Hi we've (at the BBC's Natural History Unit) have never seen anything like this - absolutely stunning photos. Andrew

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  11. That really is amazing - how beautiful

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  12. Fantastic!!! What an amazing experience that must have been??

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  13. Wow! Waxwings are one of my favourite birds and I haven't seen any this year so far! Amazing to have them in your garden and happy to come so close!

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  14. Hi Tommy - as you can see I had already used your photos on my blog - felt they deserved a wider audience than Facebook! Hope you dont mind- all
    acknowledged!

    Still think they are brill photos and the content - stunning!

    Corinna

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  15. Thank you for sharing these amazing pictures. I have bookmarked your blog and will be checking in regularly.

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  16. I have seen them in Germany and photographed them out of the house, but never something like this... So tame, so confident. How nice ! Gratulations. Very nice blog. Kind regards,
    Georg (Algarve, Portugal)

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  17. Brilliant! Thank you for sharing with us :-)

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  18. Waxwings are famously tame at times, but these are the most amazing photographs I have seen. Marvellous.

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  19. These are among some of the most amazing photo's ive ever seen. You are truely blessed living in such a wonderful place. I have joined your followers list and look forward to your next post. Thanks so much for sharing. Jules (Sussex):)

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  20. Great pictures, can you send them south. Portsmouth!! Kevin Hants

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  21. What a great post. Thanks for sharing

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  22. Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness :-)

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  23. Incredible. Absolutely incredible!

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  24. Wow! and Thank You! we had well over 5000 views yesterday... cheers Tommy & Henry

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  25. wonderful magical what can I say! I was lucky enough to see 100 or so in Northumberland last week, and get some images, but not as close as you guys or as great an image set!! how magical. You are so lucky!
    Will

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  26. I came to you via Alan & Loch of the Lowes. Absolutely amazing photos. Thanks so much.
    Erica

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  27. Pure dead brilliant..... I've only ever managed robins, great tits and blue tits eating from my hand - you're just a lucky pair of guys!

    Fynesider

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  28. Dear Tommy and Henry, I am Vladimir from Russia. Thank you for this post. We have seen many photos with Great Tits and Nuthutches on a human hand. But your photos with Waxwings are splended. I referenced link to your post in the Russian club of photohunters "Birds". Waxwings on your hands are worth of thousands words indeed.

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  29. I have got a great pleasure by your photos!!!
    I am Tanya from Moscow (Russia, club of photohunters "Birds").

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  30. Wow, lucky people! And what lovely photos. :)

    Can you please send some Waxwings to the other end of the UK, to the Isle of Wight, we are totally Waxwing-less...

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  31. stunning pictures - waiting here in mid-Wales for the birds to decide they're fed up with life in Bangor and Conwy and head our way! www.mwphoto.co.uk

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  32. I've never, ever seen anything like it, absolutely stunning!!!

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  33. Absolutely brilliant. I'm green with envy.

    ... Send some of those Waxwings to Surrey please ;)

    Bill

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  34. this is amazing, excellent pics as well

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  35. Such amazing photos thank you so much :))
    The delight on young Henry's face is lovely to see.
    I just hope they come South to Southampton area they will be very welcome indeed and there is plenty of berries here too :))

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  36. Absolutely fantastic pictures.

    Jim
    www.britishisleswildlife.co.uk/

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  37. A blogging friend sent me your link; I'm so glad they did. Fantastic pictures, and what an amazing experience for you both. Something you both will remember for a lifetime.

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  38. This really put a smile on my face, what an experience!

    TobyH
    www.tobyh.myzen.co.uk
    (Wildlife photography)

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  39. Brilliant. How lucky you were. Really stunning pix!!!!

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  40. cools pics, thanks for sharing & hello from Germany (big fan of "North Sea Gas" ;-)

    uwe

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  41. Can you send a few to Somerset please........

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  42. Amazing... ...
    and exactly 45 years after my first Waxwings cycling from school home (25-10-1965) and my son Tamin is named after the Shetland name of the Puffin
    Aart (Netherlands)

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  43. I love this and am thinking how really beautiful this is to be this close to those gorgeous birds. I can see why you really love life there over New York. I'd trade Baton Rouge for the Fair Isle in a heartbeat -- not even a second glance back! 8-D

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  44. Thank you so much for sharing these incredible photographs with the world. What an amazing experience for you and Henry, and how fantastic that you could share such a wonderful event as father and son. I bet your wife wished she hadn't gone out that day! I'm sure that like many other people I'm going to have apples on sticks erected in my garden...and lucky me to have a friend with an orchard. May I suggest that you let BBC Autumnwatch know of your experience, I'm sure they would love to have some photos of you and Henry with these beautiful birds on their program:)
    Judy Kennett

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  45. BBC Autumnwatch Unsprung called us yesterday! because of all your sharing of these photos they plan to show some while interviewing us over the phone.
    BBC 2 (in Scotland) 9:30pm Tonight Nov. 11th
    Thanks for all the "Love" Cheers Tommy & Henry

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  47. Thats great news about Autumnwatch, I will get to see your fantastic photos again. For the past 5 days I've looked at your blog at least 3 times a day, to put a smile on my face.
    Best wishes to you all. Marie

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  48. Just fantastic photos, and what a real treat for you all to have Waxwings so close and eating from your hand.

    I still haven't managed a trip to Fair Isle (booked into the Observatory in May of this year but the refurb wasn't finsihed in time for our booking) so it is still a place waiting to be enjoyed for me.

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  49. Unbelievable pictures and well put together with the story. Does sainthood beckon?

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  50. Fantastic and incredible! To get them like this is a dream... I'm already so happy I saw them this year!

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  51. All of us at Halifax are so jealous of your good fortune with these birds Cracking photos Thanks very much for sharing these images.

    John Connie and Daniel Chapman

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  52. Great post indeed ! Thanks for sharing... We feel the happiness, the absolute happiness to see those birds so close, to feel their faith...What a lucky man you are ! And your son will keep this memory, very pleasant recollection of that day, all his life and they probably will be his guidelines to drive his own life ! Danielle from France.

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  53. Loads of Waxwings here in Calderdale, but none as bold as these. Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos. My complexion is currently a rather luminous shade of green. Fantastic stuff!

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  54. Sorry, The BBC Autumn Watch Unsprung Interview was cancelled just before air... But they told the story well and the photos looked great on TV!

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  55. Beautiful pictures! Could you tell me what camera you used, and its resolution?
    Thanks.
    Alastair

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  56. Fantastic images, we had dozens of waxwings in Stornoway, but they were not as tame - or perhaps I did not think to take an apple...

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  57. Excellent images and what wondeful memories! It reminds me of feeding hungry lorikeets bread and jam in Aussie - something I won't forget.

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  58. Its magical when a robin feeds from your hand, but to have Waxwings feeding from from your hand!!!! Well thats just unbelievable!!! Saw your pics on Autumnwatch last night - Congratulations!

    Best Wishes Penny

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  59. Watched it on Autumn Watch ..truly amazing...a joy to the heart Beth from next door Shetland Isles

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  60. Hi Tommy, I am delighted I came across this posting via a link from Dean Eades above on the Birdforum. Thanks, Dean :-)

    Saw the images on Autumnwatch the other night. Absolutely stunning!

    Spotted a group for the first time (down here in South Perthshire) on Wednesday. I was thrilled with a tree group of 40-50, 60 metres away. I cannot comprehend what this moment must have been like for you and your son. Yes, you'll not forget this day :-D

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  61. Spotted this link on Wild About Britain. Lovely birds. Amazing photos.Full of Color.Did not know they are so big. artedemole.

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  62. Good night. I am of France, near NANTES. It's a magical instant when all lovers of nature and birds would like to know. I envy you and thank you for this splendid vision. Warmly.
    (http://ecolofil.blogspot.com/)

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  63. Fantastic images

    Jeff. http://grumpy-jeff.blogspot.com/

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  64. I have just found your pics - through a local birding site - how amazing - how priviliged you are - I have only seen a flock of waxwings the once - in a tree eating berries close to a busy traffic island - I was able to pull over and watch them for sometime - we have been to Shetland and the Scillies and have been blown away with what we have seen

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  65. Wow! What an amazing experience, really looking forward to our share here in South Wales.

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  66. Amazing and who would have thought that the humble Waxwing would have been the autumns top birding news item for Fair Isle!

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  67. SAW THE PHOTOS ON AUTUMNWATCH AND THEN SOMEONE TOLD ME ABOUT THIS LINK. I WAS SO IMPRESSED I SENT THE LINK TO MY DAUGHTER YOU BOTH ARE INDEED BLESSED TO HAVE EXPERIENCED THIS. VERY ENVIOUS.

    BEST WISHES VAL

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  68. Stunning pics .

    Andre (The Netherlands)
    http://birdingoldambt.blogspot.com/

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  69. Wonderful photos,

    Well done.

    Ian Hardy

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  70. Fantastic images. You lucky, lucky so-and-so's!...Lol. No, well done. Beautiful birds and one from my childhood.

    Regards,

    Steve.

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  71. These pics will live with you for ever, birds can change lives, photo numnber 6 of Henry grinning is just the best ! Brilliant !

    Mark Thomas

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  72. Superb pictures!
    That is a memory Henry will always treasure I am sure.

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  73. BBC Autumnwatch are using 2 of these Henry & the Waxwings photos tonight on the end of the season recap show. Happy Thanksgiving & Cheers!

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  74. What a remarkable event. You guys are so, so lucky!

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  76. I have never ever imagined this, let aside seeing it. This is absolutely wonderful.

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  77. Pictures I will never forget (especially when the boy appears very close to a wild birds). Truly amazing!

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  78. Magnifique ! A Nancy (Lorraine-France)je ne les ai jamais vus d'aussi près !

    (Wonderfull ! In Nancy, I've never seen those birds so near !)

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  79. It's unbelievable the numbers of people still looking at this post and photos every day... Thanks, keep your comments coming I love it!

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  80. Wow! What wonderful photographs. Such a fantastic experience for you. I saw my first Waxwings (ever) today, in South-East England. They truly are beautiful birds. There have been other sightings recorded in my area of 200+ Waxwings, so I shall go out at the weekend and try to get another sighting. Thanks again for sharing your experience with us.

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  81. Gotta love this.....this must have been such an incredible experience...
    Isn't this the way animals and humans should always interact?!
    No fear...no conflicts....just reciprocal respect....

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  82. This was my 2nd blog post ever! and it is still getting viewed all the time. I just added a few more photos from that day and enlarge them all for more detail. enjoy and thanks for the love! Tommy & Henry

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  83. I came back for another look, and these pictures, along with the new ones, really put a much needed big smile on my face. Thank you for that.

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  84. Absolutely Amazing pictures!

    Well Done!

    I recently recorded a sighting of these birds in my London street on the Autumn Watch site re: "20 Mar 2011, Rob wrote: Today was mesmerised, as were other residents who came out to view, a wonderful flock of about 50 waxwings that are presently frequenting our South London Peckham, Ansdell Road area feeding on berries off a Cotoneaster tree of one of the front gardens. What a surprising and amazing sight? Apparently they've visited in the last couple of days. For how long - who knows?"

    These are clearly fearless birds out to gobble up any tasty fruit that appears along their migratory flight path. If there's a shortage in sparsely populated country areas that they fly through they'll hone in to populated conurbations (like my London street) that presents a garden bush full of juicy fruit berries.

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  85. I wonder if the presence of parakeets in recent years which are ravenous fruit eaters is causing other fruit eating birds to stray from traditional depleted grounds in search of their 'fruit salads' even if that means going into built-up areas they hadn't, hitherto, visited?

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  86. Wow! I've just found this blog and can't believe the amazing pictures. What a fantastic experience! I've only seen a waxwing once and that was in Helsinki zoo so doesn't really count ;) Fingers crossed i'll see on in the UK this winter. Happy Christmas!

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  87. Cedar Waxwings are wonderful and gregarious birds. I have had the honor and pleasure of caring for 2 injured Cedar Waxwings over the years. They thrived on a diet of dog kibble mixed with chopped grapes and mealy worms. Great birds. ENJOY!!Jean Ravinski, Plymouth, Mass USA

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  88. I just found this - the most amazing pictures - got me thinking how excited I was to see them in the top of a tree in an industrial estate in Aylesbury.

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  89. We have spotted the Waxswing here in Washington state, USA but never so many at the same time and never hand fed. Amazing photos. Also loved the Fair Isle Hat; hopefully they will be available for purchase next year during our visit.

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