Monday, October 24, 2005
Waxwings and Warblers
Each fall, there comes a day, always cold, and windblown, with grey banks of clouds broken with shafts of sunlight, when the cedar waxwings descend on our wooded garden by the hundreds. The week started with noisy robins, too numerous to count, hanging from every dogwood tree, then came dozens and dozens of beautiful white throated sparrows, and today the waxwings blew in, adding to the frenzy of birds, stripping the bushes and trees of their berries. As I walked through the woods, huge flocks of birds would flit through the understory brush in front of me, like herding fish in the ocean. Bush honeysuckles are certainly an invasive shrub, but can there be anything finer to see in the cold dregs of autumn, than a sleek, masked waxwing, devouring blood red honeysuckle berries amongst the deep green foliage... my picture, taken without benefit of a telephoto lens, is a poor hint of the beauty of the cedar waxwing. As if these birds were not enough to look at, there are golden crowned kinglets and numerous warblers hopping through the brush, which brings me to a question (and perhaps a complaint)... it is said there are forty varieties of eastern warblers; how does anybody know... none of them sits still for more than two seconds, which is about five seconds less time than it takes me to raise and focus my binoculars. I have only the vaguest idea how many and what type of warblers we are playing host to, but they are all welcome.