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January 09, 2013

Winter Birding - Barb Phillips

Church Service

All these play an important part in my life right now.  I tend to spend more time in some areas, possible more than I really should.
One area that I have really been neglecting lately is...wait for it.... MY HOBBIES.  I bet you thought I was going to write family didn't you? 
I have quilts that need finished.  I have a crafting room that have spilled over into a wood shed outside.  And for photography, well my camera has been sitting on it's tripod just waiting. 

I finally made of my mind today that no mater the weather, I was going out to get some bird shots.  Birding is so tricky for me as the longest lens I have is a 300mm.  I do have a 1.4X converter that I use but the draw back is that it cuts down on the light coming into the camera, not to mention clarity would be jeopardized.

Never-the-less I needed to get out.  I decided that the Market Lake Wildlife Area would be a grand place to visit.  It's not to cold today, 23 degrees and bearable. I head out.  The sky keeps getting foggier, darker and very flat. I keep going determined to find the rockery of Bohemian Waxwings that I had seen just last week.

I've only been able to see Finches and Sparrows around the house lately and the Waxwings proved exciting.

You can only take so many sparrows before it's time to find something new to photograph.

I've reached the spot that I thought perhaps I would be able to find the Waxwings.  I slip on my snow boots, check out my camera for battery power and SD card.  Zip up my thermal coat and head out.  I've walked I figure 2 miles and I spot them, hundreds of them.  My heart races, my step picks up in the snow and I approach cautiously.  I know that these birds are feeding on Russian Olives for winter food and that they will do so in large groups.  I get within a couple hundred feet, not good enough.  Can I get closer without them all scattering?  I move forward 10 feet, they are still there.  Another 20 feet, they notice me but stay put, I grab some quick shots.  Still I am not close enough for anything note worthy.  I move forward, they scatter in an uproar.  Rats!!!  But wait their coming back.  I move forward almost under them.  They watch, eat, chatter and eat some more. I'm ecstatic,  could today get any better?
 The Bohemian Waxwing is similar to the Cedar Waxwing just a little bigger and more colorful.  I wish that I had one of those fancy 500mm about now.
 I'm loving their colors aren't you.  Make the house sparrows look a bit plain don't you think?
 These two were such a comical pare, they must be mates the way they were acting.

 This guy just didn't know what to make of me and all the clicking noises.  I shot some frames he would turn side to side trying to see what or where the noise was coming from.
Doesn't take these birds long to have totally stripped a tree of it's fruit.  No wonder I had to walk in so far to find them.

Side Note - after spending close to two hours watching, listening and photographing Waxwings I decided I had better head for the car as I was loosing light. 
 I begin back tracking the track. I turn to watch a snow owl and a great horned owl, and I've lost the trail I made coming into this place.  Anxiety replaces satisfaction. Thought of tomorrows headlines run through my head "BIRDER LOST".  I do a quick look about and spot the main interstate, I now feel confidant I'll find my way out of this area. 

 NOTE TO SELF - get better barrings and landmarks while out in the wild.
As you can tell I DID make it home, how else would I have been able to share my day with you. Ü  
Until my next photo adventure.


~Shari said...

Ohhhh! Barb! Those are some stunning Bohemian Wax Wing shots you were able to capture. I agree they are nice Eye Candy in comparison to the drab sparrow!

Country Girl said...

Wonderful images and narrative to accompany them. I am loving your waxwings!