[Tweeters] Cedar Waxwing Watch - a Little Sit - 10/11/15

Barbara Deihl barbdeihl at comcast.net
Tue Oct 13 02:46:17 PDT 2015

Sunday afternoon, after pulling into my driveway, I decided to finish listening to the TED Radio Hour on KUOW (one with paleontologist Jack Horner talking about what dinosaurs tell us about our own origins) before getting out of my car - turned out to be a good vantage point for watching waves of Cedar Waxwings coming in and work on depleting the cotoneaster berries on a bush in the driveway. I had a point&shoot camera with me, so I just sat back and tried for some shots The pictures weren't great, but it was fun watching the dozens of CWs pop those berries and hang on and work the bush.

It was such a pleasant afternoon, I decided to do another 'Little Sit' from a different spot in the driveway and see what the birds would do, plus try to get some better photos using my other camera, which I retrieved from inside the house. The birds didn't give up with me in their midst. I sat comfortably in an outdoor chair, and spent another half-hour trying to capture shots of them berry-in-beak (fairly unsuccessfully) and noting how the groups came, ate and disappeared, with another group (or maybe the same) repeating the process every 5 or 10 minutes. They worked their way down into the bush from the top and probably had been feasting away on the same bush for many a day, as told by the lack of berries up high and the berry poop splats I saw on objects around and below the cotoneaster !

As the daylight diminished, so did the feeding, but what actually got me to give up my watch was the shrill, high-pitched calls the waxwings were making - once I focused on the calls, I found them annoying and knew it was time for me to quit the sit and go busy myself with something else, like dinner :-)

Here's a link to a Flickr album I put together that includes photos of some waxwings, cotoneaster and other colorful and 'fall'-ish plants in and near the driveway here at the Barboretum. Once I looked at Mike Hamilton's latest shots, of Cedar Waxwings with berries at Marymoor, I was grateful that now I wouldn't have to stress about not having gotten very excellent shots from my two driveway seats - I can enjoy my shots for what they are and get some good detail from Mike's. The berry plants in his pics look to be hawthorns and crab apples. He said that the last time he photographed waxwings there (a week previous, I think), the waxwings were feeding on wasps ! Whatever's available, I guess.

Find something to enjoy in my photos and do let me know if you can ID the type of oak tree whose fallen leaves are in a couple of the pictures :-) https://flic.kr/s/aHskmv1wBE

Barb Deihl
Matthews Beach Neighborhood - NE Seattle
barbdeihl at comcast.net
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