Delighted twitchers came out in force after groups of rare birds said to be a sign of a harsh winter descended on the county in search of berries this week.

Groups of waxwings have been spotted across the county in recent days.

Crowds or birdspotters have been gathering around sites where the feathered winter visitors have arrived from colder climes looking for food.

At the minute many are gathered at Lidl in Cinderford where around 16 Waxwings have been spotted feeding from the winter berries.

Two waxwings have been spotted feeding on berries outside the police station in Cirencester and a pair have been seen at the The Boars Head car park in Berkeley.

According to the Gloster birder website they ave also been spotted at Pittville Park, Cheltenham, the park at the Gardner's Lane Children's Centre Cheltenham and a garden at Wotton-under-Edge.

At one time it was very rare to see the visitors from Scandinavia, particularly in the West of the UK, but over the last ten years the starling-sized birds have become more and more common.

Unusually high numbers of birds not usually found at a place are classed as an "irruption" and in Britain high numbers have traditionally been linked to a cold, hard winter.

The plump, crested bird, named because its red wing markings resemble wax seals, feeds on berries and each bird is capable of devouring 390 berries, roughly its own weight, in two and a half hours. The distinctive birds have splashes of bright yellow and red, topped off with a black 'robber's mask' and a crest.

On the Continent waxwings were named "plague birds'' because their visits were said to coincide with epidemics and prompted superstition and fear.

Other birds causing are stir are the first winter Eastern Black Redstarts spotted at locations such as Tewksbury Abbey.