In pictures: Waxwing irruption flies into Scotland

The waxings - like this one spotted in Bellshill by Marie-Pierre Garroway - come from Scandinavia in search of food

A bumper number of waxwing sightings is being reported across Scotland this winter.

BBC Scotland news website readers have captured them on camera throughout the country.

Waxwings are annual visitors from Scandinavia but they sometimes come in more significant numbers - known as an irruption - in search of food.

RSPB Scotland said it was "lovely to hear" so many people were sharing photographs of the birds.

It is called an irruption when the birds arrive in larger numbers than usual
Holly Taylor captured these images of the birds in Edinburgh's Saughton Park

Sightings have been reported throughout Scotland this year with photographs sent in from Bellshill, Edinburgh, Shetland, St Andrews, Alford, Irvine and Kirkcaldy.

The waxwing is described as a "plump bird" which is slightly smaller than a starling.

It is known for its prominent crest and does not breed in the UK but is a winter visitor.

Sheila Tough from Alford said there had been reports of large flocks of waxwings in the north east of Scotland

A spokesperson for RSPB Scotland said: "Waxwings are welcome visitors to Scotland every year.

"In some years, we see them in much larger numbers, called irruptions.

"This happens when the population of the birds in their breeding grounds gets too large for the food available there and they have to venture further afield."

Adrian Plumb saw a large flock of waxwings that were flying round Bankhead in Edinburgh

The organisation said it was pleased so many people were sharing their photographs.

"Connecting with the nature around is so important and can be such a tonic, particularly at this time of year when the nights are drawing in," the spokesperson added.

Rhona Summers spotted several waxwings on her garden fence in Shetland
St Andrews
"This may be a good winter for waxwing sightings," says Chris Reekie. "This one was in a group of 10 or 12 in St Andrews, feeding on the berries."
"Spotted these winter visitors from Scandinavia in Irvine," says Ken Milne. "They quickly strip a tree of its berries and then move on to a different location."
Christopher Wicks was tidying up his garden ready for the winter period when 20 or so waxwings descended on to the rowan tree and started to "gorge themselves"
Jo Nickson saw these waxwings "having a bath" with some starlings in Kirkcaldy
Angela Pearson also caught an image of a Scandinavian visitor to Kirkcaldy

All images are copyrighted.