Monday, January 6, 2014

cedar waxwing ~ 01/06/14 ~ Casa del Oro Garden

I love the look of waxwings.  They'd make a great model for an avian masked comic-book hero.  I've been keeping my eye out for them this winter and have spotted them 4 times since November.  It appears this group likes to sun themselves on a couple tall sycamore trees along the Casa del Oro Garden.  If you weren't paying attention to their chattery flock calls, they'd be easy to miss from a distance because they look a lot like dried leaves that haven't fallen off the tree.  I had to laugh when an Historic Garden League volunteer grumpily pointed out how much their seedy poop makes a mess on the sidewalk below, especially since I was just thrilled to be lucky enough to see them.  The flock is easily frightened to flight even with a horn honk.  It was somehow reassuring to read from several sources that cedar waxwings look a lot like starlings in flight, because that was my first thought when I saw them flow around in the air as a group.  I'm going to keep my eye on nearby toyon and pyracantha shrubs in the coming months.  The berries are plump and red but still untouched.  Maybe they're not ripe enough for the waxwings?


Imperfect and Tense said...

They are such gorgeous birds!

Is there not a colony of 'Bohemians' in Greenwich Village? ;o)

Katie (Nature ID) said...

I read that bohemians sometimes hang out with the cedars. They're a very rare winter vagrant with only 2 records in Monterey County in 1960 and 1969. I'm going to try to keep my eyes peeled for the possibility of a grey belly and reddish tail among the yellow bellies. It's such a wacky weather year, so who knows.

For future reference:

Jeannette said...

I wonder how long it took to get from my holly tree to Monterey? Like your photos!

Imperfect and Tense said...

Oh wow! Super jealous now! Didn't know you had TWO species of Waxers over there. And the possibility of seeing BOTH together. Wishing you a fruitful (berriful?) Waxwing experience :o)

Jennifer said...

I would really love to see some of these birds!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Jeannette, you probably got to see them closer-up with pretty top-view. Is your holly stripped?

Graeme, I'm going to try my best to get photos should I happen across them to confirm for county records. It's my winter challenge this year.

Jennifer, you're on. I'll give you a call when I see them again.