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Old Dec 15, 2013, 12:42 PM   #1
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Default return of the waxwings

Each year in December we get visited by a group of cedar wax wings, attracted by our crab apple tree, these voracious fruit eaters can clean a tree in a day. Last year we only had a few and then some pine grosbeaks came and cleaned the tree. This year the cedar wax wings came a bit earlier to beat out the grosbeaks. If prior years are any indication these crab apples will be gone by sometime tomorrow so I am happy that I was able to capture a few shots while they were here even if the light wasn't so great.

We had a 14-18" of fresh snow yesterday too so this morning the birds were hungry. With the skies being grey and the background being white I remembered to turn up the exposure offset to +0.7 and did my best to steady the camera at 1/400 shutter speed and ISO 1250 (I cap the auto ISO here because I find ISO 1600 too grainy on the E-PL2).

All shot with the Zuiko 70-300mm using the panasonic DMW-MA1 adapter and of course the VF-2 was doing the viewfinder duties with single point AF target at 14x...


cedar wax wing by ramcewan, on Flickr


cedar wax wing by ramcewan, on Flickr


cedar wax wing by ramcewan, on Flickr

a group... it can turn into a feeding frenzy with up to 20 of the waxwings in the yard. The robins and bluebirds who also eat the crab apples at a slower pace do their best to try to scare these waxwings off or at least eat what they can while there is still something left. In the end though the crap apples will be gone and with them the waxwings until next year.


cedar wax wings by ramcewan, on Flickr
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Old Dec 15, 2013, 2:03 PM   #2
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Beautiful little creatures. I like your creamy bokeh too. Maybe I don't need that f0.85 after all. ;-)
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Old Dec 15, 2013, 2:04 PM   #3
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......I really like these images and suppose the 70-300 is mandated to handle the distance, well done. I've never seen this bird, do they sing too?
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Old Dec 15, 2013, 6:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by chiPersei View Post
Beautiful little creatures. I like your creamy bokeh too. Maybe I don't need that f0.85 after all. ;-)
Thanks I am lucky enough to be able to shoot from inside the warmth of my kitchen to the tree with not much beyond... nothing like distance between the subject and background to produce nice bokeh with a telephoto... that said I have always found the 70-300mm to do a real nice job on subject isolation, it is one of my favorite lenses.

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......I really like these images and suppose the 70-300 is mandated to handle the distance, well done. I've never seen this bird, do they sing too?
yes either the Zuiko 70-300, Panasonic 100-300 or the M. Zuiko 75-300 is really needed for birding most of the time... from what I hear the 75-300 does a nice job with more keepers on account of it's faster more sure AF which is not a high point of the 70-300 on a PEN... would be interesting to see how it does with the new EM-1.

They don't much have a song like a robin's complicated summer song but they do chirp back and forth to each other as they eat in a pleasant way

Here's a few more I took later in the day. I'm really pleased with the first two and the last I included because it shows the little red marking on the very tip of the wing another distinguishing feature of this little bird along with it's bandit mask and yellow dipped tail feathers


PC153885-2 by ramcewan, on Flickr


PC153887-2 by ramcewan, on Flickr


PC153866-2 by ramcewan, on Flickr

and here's a shot of one of the two male north american blue birds that frequent our feeder, first we had one pair but then in the last year we've seen a second younger pair join them. This is the first year they've figured out that they can eat the crab apples, here he sits watching as the cedar wax wings devour his new found food source... no worries I've got fruity suet for my little blue birds when the crab apples are gone


PC143806 by ramcewan, on Flickr
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Old Dec 15, 2013, 6:33 PM   #5
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Man, that PC153887-2 belongs in a birder's magazine.
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Old Dec 15, 2013, 6:57 PM   #6
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.......beautiful!
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I've not used the 70-300 on the M1 but for a couple files; AF is equal or better than on my E-3.

Yesterday Greg tried it for AF on his M1 and said the same. I am looking forward to some great times for butterflies & dragonflies next summer.
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Old Dec 16, 2013, 9:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Man, that PC153887-2 belongs in a birder's magazine.
I have to agree with that. Enjoyed all the photos, but my favorite was that one. I also really liked the group shot of the first photo. That shot would look good as a Christmas card.
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Old Dec 16, 2013, 1:55 PM   #8
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All VERY nice images ramcewan
The group shot is Great
There are a few cedar wax wings which occasionally show up here, but I have not got a good picture of one yet
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Old Dec 17, 2013, 9:43 AM   #9
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All very nice shots Ramce.
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