Saturday, January 21, 2012


Bohemian and Cedar Waxwings are a tough act to follow if you are a Pine Siskin or sparrow. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the siskins, sparrows and my loyal Black-capped Chickadees, but when the waxwings and grosbeaks fly in it resembles a stuffy "black tie" affair.

The fly in occurs each fall and lasts as long as the berries do... that is, the mountain ash berries. The waxwings and grosbeak were almost non existent last winter in the Arrowhead. For some reason, the mountain ash trees produced no berries. I don't know if there was a blight or a stress from many years in a row of abundant berries. But few waxwings or Pine Grosbeaks showed up in my area.

This winter it is a whole different story, I have been photographing the waxwings and grosbeak since the end of November. All of January has been a wonderful photo op of these beautiful birds. I have shot thousands of photos of these birds over the two month span, more than any other year. At times the sky is filled with whirring wings of hundreds of waxwings, quite a marvelous sight to behold.

Lack of sunshine over this period has made stellar shots difficult. Until this week in January, I could count the days of sunshine since the middle of December on one hand... it has been darker than sin and not conducive to sharp photos. Everything changed this week with the frigid weather, the skies cleared up and the temperature dropped. On January 19th I photographed in sunshine and a -53 degree below zero windchill. The female Pine Grosbeak below is one of the birds photographed on that day.

Here are a set of images from this winter's photographs of Bohemian, Cedar Waxwings and Pine Grosbeaks.

Male Pine Grosbeak

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

"A buffet gone terribly wrong"
Female Pine Grosbeak

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.” Henry David Thoreau