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Old Jan 12, 2005, 9:26 PM   #1
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Hi Everybody,

I want to share a couple images of a Bohemian Waxwing I took in our yard last month. The bird is on a miniature crabapple tree with Mt. Garfield in the background.

Waxwings eat the fruit of berry producing trees and shrubs. The Southern Rocky Mountains is experiencing an invasion of these birds in unprecedented numbers. Bohemian Waxwings are a circumpolar high sub-arctic breeder (northern Canada and Alaska). In most years, they winter from central Canada to as far south as the mountains of northern Colorado. Every ten or fifteen years, the Grand Valley of Colorado sees an irruption of these birds, most likely because of a weather-related failure of the berry crop farther north. This year is especially unusual because of the great number of Bohemians present here, throughout Colorado, Utah, even in Kansas and as far south as Sierra Vista, Arizona, near the Mexican border.

The Bohemian Waxwing is similar to our locally breeding Cedar Waxwing which also winters here, but a bit larger and more colorful. Sometimes they will be seen together in mixed flocks.

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Old Jan 12, 2005, 9:37 PM   #2
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"I'm so handsome", is what this bird was saying to me. Waxwings love berries of all kinds...juniper berries, raisins, cranberries. This fellow came to hand, gobbled a couple cranberries then studied me while I took his photo with my Panasonic FZ10. The first photo was featured on our local TV news a couple weeks ago.

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Old Jan 13, 2005, 2:00 AM   #3
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Fabulous shot...you might try to whisper in his ear and tell him/her that if they ever feel like coming up here to Calgary, we have last summers crab apples hanging by the ton in our back yard. We used to be on their route, they'd stop and pick our trees clean. The last few winters, they have not come. It leaves me with these small gooey bombs that fall on my patio in spring and goop up the place. Around 25 below right now, so I'll understand if they don't make it. Best regards,

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Old Jan 13, 2005, 10:10 AM   #4
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I really liked #2. I think he is checking out your FZ10.
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Old Jan 13, 2005, 11:00 AM   #5
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amazing ! what a beautiful bird. and the first photo could be in a wallcalender absolutely stunning
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Old Jan 13, 2005, 1:55 PM   #6
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Great shots Hummer, and I particularly am drawn to #1 for the background effect and #2 for the human perspective. I've had a chickadee walk on my hands but those ones are slightly heavier. The must feel nice too. I'm surprised it actually let you get shots so close as well, but, then again, you are a bit closer to birds on a regular basis than most of us and I'm sure they sense that kinship to a degree.
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Old Jan 13, 2005, 6:40 PM   #7
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love the first shot, it is stunning, wonderful background:-)
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Old Jan 14, 2005, 3:32 AM   #8
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Great Shots. I really like #1. The framing of it with the mountains in the
backround is wonderful in my opinion.
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Old Jan 14, 2005, 10:55 AM   #9
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Nicely done.

I wonder if the same thing that is causing the eruption of great Grey Owls (and a few other types) in Michigan is also driving these guys south. We've haven't hit the time when they normally come to my state. But I hope to get some good pictures of them when they do. Truly a lovely bird.

Eric
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Old Jan 14, 2005, 12:36 PM   #10
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Thanks for the nice comments. The sleek waxwings are especially beautiful birds so you can hardly go wrong with any decent photo of one. I think a secret to successful wildlife photos is to capture something defining about the animal's nature, such as a peculiar behavior, a preferred habitat, or as in this case, the food it prefers. I've seen so many great photos posted here recently, wish I had more time to comment. Some that come to mind are zoomn's incredible photo of a heron with the trout, erics' screech owl in the tree cavity, and geoff's amazing dancing Scrub Jay.

The Grand Valley is surrounded by mountains of three distinctly different types-- the red rock arches and spires of the Uncompahgre, the sub-alpine forests of the Grand Mesa, and the barren shale escarpments of Mt. Garfield and the "bookcliffs". All are defining geologic features of the area so whenever I can, I try to frame my subjects to include one of these.

One thing I'd like to learn more about is effective post processing, so I appreciate whenever someone includes info about how they improve their images.

Hummer
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