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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Feb 17, 2011

Bohemians and Woodpeckers: a weekend adventure

Flight Silhouette-Bohemian Waxwings
I had the most wonderful weekend. Not only was the temperature outside a balmy plus five degrees, which is extraordinarily warm for the month of February, but it was mostly sunny as well.  Since then the temperature has dropped to minus 30, so I am very glad that I went out when I did.

As you may have guessed by now, I have been on a quest to get the best possible portraits of the Bohemian waxwings that have been blessing my neighborhood with their presence.  I have surprised even myself with my determination.  Who would have guessed that I would spend hours wading through knee deep snow, ducking under, through and over all manner of vegetation and obstacles to do so.
Dozens of Bohemians in the tree tops

Still, I did not get as close as I would have liked to the Bohemian Waxwings, as the little nomads seemed to prefer the tree tops as resting places.  For hours they flocked through the sky in waves, likes schools of fish in the ocean.  Nevertheless, they would return to this little wood just down the street quite regularly and while I am not the best photographer in the world, I did get some decent portraits of these amazingly lovely birds.

In flight
The photos above and the ones directly below are the best I was able to get of these waxwings so far.

Bohemian waxwing crest up
Pair of Bohemian Waxwings
I was trying to capture as much detail as possible on the coloring of this species of waxwings for comparison to that of the cedar waxwings, and in that I succeeded.  However, it seems I was to be doubly blessed on these outings.  You see, as I was patiently waiting for these birds to return from where ever it was they went to feed, I did make an effort to capture the images of nuthatches and chickadees whose song I hear frequently in this little wood.

It wasn't long before I noticed that the little nomads were not the only bird to flock to this little wood.   Another species altogether made its presence known by conspicuously flitting from tree to tree and these did not limit themselves to the tree tops.  It wasn't just their behavior that called my attention to them.  It was the fleeting glimpse of black and red, followed by the drumming of a woodpecker.  For some reason there were more than the usual number of woodpeckers present.  In fact they numbered more than a dozen and there was more than one species.  I only managed to capture the one species on camera.  However, fortunately for me this particular species was less than shy.

Downy Woodpecker male
Downy Woodpecker
As you can see I managed to get some clear shots of them and the only effort it took was to patiently stand still with the camera at the ready.  No doubt I will be going back to the little forest as soon as the weather warms up a bit, since I was so fortunate this time.  After all, who knows what other species of bird there might be sheltering, feeding or resting within.  Do you have a place where you go bird watching that is particularly fortunate for you?



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