Monday, May 4, 2009

Cedar Waxwings, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Warblers, and Orchard and Baltimore Orioles at the Great Blue Heron Heronry

While photographing the baby Blues and listening to their froggy little cries, I could hear a mix of other birds' songs in the woodlands surrounding the heronry more so than any other time I had been there. The songs were so pronounced, they kept pulling my attention away from the herons. I heard two Wood Thrushes in the woods, and over by the small creek, a Swainson’s Thrush...and while those beauties were singing, a Baltimore Oriole started in by the tree line just past the pasture. I looked up and found him gleaning insects…next to him by about 15 feet, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak doing the same thing. As I shot a few photos of the Grosbeak, I heard that distinctive chitter-chatter of a Cedar Waxwing and soon 10 to 12 followed, hopping from branch to branch searching for caterpillars, ants, moths, beetles and any other type of insect they could find. The calls kept coming, varied, and fast…a Nashville Warbler popped into view as well at two “Butter Butts” (Yellow-rumped Warblers), along with a couple other migrants I didn’t have enough time to identify. The bird song blended with the baby Blues' cries to create an energetic and unique sound…a constant barrage of life that was very exciting! I wanted to make sure I could remember what it sounded like, so I closed my eyes and let it sink in. (I can tell you, however, as I sit here writing, I can't recapture the sound in my mind. I guess it's one of those things you have to hear to experience, and when it's gone, it's gone.) In another tree, I saw movement and an Orchard Oriole came into view. I had just read about them earlier in the day, so my brain immediately IDd the bird. I watched him through the binocs, studying his coloring, which was a shade or two darker and rustier than the Baltimore Oriole. After about an hour of watching and listening to the herons and migrants, I had to leave. Some of the birds had moved on and weren't singing quite as much; however, the babies……..they hadn’t let up their cries for food one iota!

A Red-breasted Grosbeak foraging in the trees surrounding the heronry.



A flock of Cedar Waxwings joins them. They 
seem to be especially interested in the tassles!



20 comments:

Roy said...

Nice shots! I haven't heard or seen any Cedar Waxwings yet this year, and I should have by now. Hmmm... I should probably ask Lauren if she knows where they are.

holdingmoments said...

Love those shots of the Cedar Waxwings. We don't get them here, but a cousin of theirs, Bohemian Waxwing, pops over from Europe some years in the winter. I was lucky enough to see some; my first time.

Linda McGeary said...

You are amazing. How often you post, and the how often you get out to see the birds. The pictures are great.
One of your posts talked about bird snobs, I get book snobs, same principle. People who think only one kind of book is worth reading. Their are those 'junk books' that they just turn their noses up at.
You write so well, that I feel like I'm there and the pictures are the frosting on the cake.
It may be the only way I'll ever go birding, but I thank you for taking me along.

Nick S said...

I don't know what I enjoyed seeing more, the beautifu red on the Grosbeak or just how green it is over there right now. We don't have any leaves here yet Kelly :-)

Kallen305 said...

Great shots!!! I have not seen Cedar Waxwings since winter and can't wait to see them again this spring. Such pretty birds that you captured very well in your pictures.

Jayne said...

When my sister and I came upon the flock of Waxwings, I too was amazed at the symphony going on between all of them. I can't imagine hearing them as well as all the warblers together!

Chris said...

Hi Kelly,
Well done!!! This was therefore a great moment for you.. Gosh!!! I love these waxing, being the cedar from your side of the Atlantic or the bohemian from our side!!! They are so gorgeous!! Great shots of them!

Ginnymo said...

Great shots Kelly! I've never seen a Cedar Waxwing. They are so pretty. I haven't seen my Grosbeak again. Glad I saw one anyway!! Yours is prettier though..LOL

Laure Ferlita said...

Cedar Waxwings have always reminded me of a masked super hero! :•) They are so slick looking and then that black band over the eyes - just too much!

Thanks for the trip!

Mary said...

Wow...just reading the title was exciting! What a grand bunch of birds to see! Beautiful shots of them in the trees.

Nature As Is said...

Wow Kelly you live in a great location in the World. I will probably never see these kinds of birds in my life time. Very Cool.

Steve B said...

You do have some pretty cool birds! Thanks for looking around and showing us.

Warren Baker said...

Butter Buts!! like it Kelly. You really are getting good at bird song ID by the sounds of it. Keep up the enthusiasm.

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Kelly
That Grosbeak is some bad looking dude. That beak it certainly designed to do a certain job. A bit like our Hawfinch over here in the UK. Nice variety of birds you saw again. Good blog Kelly.

Montanagirl said...

The Cedar Waxwings photos are a nice seriers. The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a beautiful bird too. Enjoyed your narration.

Shellmo said...

Really enjoyed those waxwing photos - they are such smart looking birds!

Kelly said...

Thanks, Roy! Hope you see some soon! They are too pretty to hide...

Keith...I've seen photos of the Bohemian, and they are gorgeous!

Linda...you at too sweet. Thank you very much. Yes, the woman thought Yellow-rumped Warblers were a waste of her time. Oh well...to each his own. I read all kinds of books....adventure, bios, mystery, history, Birds, Birds, Birds.......the list goes on and on. Junk books are fun too. I need to read those when I'm stressed.

Nick...the past week has made all the difference in the leaf department. Everything is green now...just about.

Kim...hope you see them soon. You must be on the same schedule as Roy...

Jayne...it was gorgeous...made me stop and just listen...

Chris...thanks! I do like your Bohemians!

Ginny...some more Grosbeaks might come through. I hope you get to see some Cedar Waxwings. Plant fruit trees, such as Mulberries, and you'll get a few.

Laure...you are so right! I feel the same. They are the sleekest birds out there!

Mary...thank you!!

Roberta....but you get to see some other really cool birds, and amazing migration flocks! :-D

STeve...thank you!

Warren...I'm only good at the easy songs! Those that really stand out. Slowly, I'll get better at the many different warbler calls. Thank you!

Ken...I know....what a big bill!

Montanagirl...thank you! Once I start writing about birds, there's no stopping me!

Thanks, Shelley. They are cool, aren't the? So sleek....

Abe Lincoln said...

I never see the waxwings here. I wish I could.

Kelly said...

Abe...they will come to mulberry trees planted in your yard. I can't wait until they ripen this summer because then we'll have a few days of Cedar Waxwing visits.

Heather said...

Wow Kelly, I am envious of those Waxwing pictures. I see them every once in a while in Athens, but I've never come across them out where I live. I think they are one of the coolest looking birds around.