Waxwing

IMG_0046
Playful Waxwing: ISO 400, 140mm, f/8, 1/4000

IMG_0120
Air Brakes: ISO 400, 400mm, f/8, 1/1600

IMG_0193
Crows: ISO 400, 110mm, f/6.3, 1/500

I believe that spring might finally have arrived in Red Deer, Alberta! The snow is almost gone and the temperatures are finally starting to rise. It was a nice sunny day yesterday but there was still a nip of cold that you needed a jacket.

My camera has been collecting dust the last few months. I felt I needed to take it out for a walk and shake the cobwebs from the camera and the creative side of my brain.

I thought the best place for it was the Kerry Wood Nature Centre which is just a few paces from our backyard. I knew some of the migrating waterfowl should be there for a rest or, in the case of the grebes, their final destination.

As the afternoon went on, I started practicing my panning skills. Panning is trying to freeze a subject by following it with your camera. As I was using a long telephoto zoom this turned out to be quite difficult. If you zoomed in too close it was card to keep the fast moving birds in sight. Also a long zoom lens tends to be quite big and heavy. Yesterday afternoon turned out to be a workout both mentally and physically.

Bohemian Waxwings, Mountain Ash, Birds, Feeding
Birds: ISO 200, 53mm, f/4.5, 1/4000

A followup to my previous post.

This is where the flock of flying waxwings were headed. The neighbour’s Mountain Ash (Right Side of Picture) provides many tiny berries for a large quantity of birds to feed. I wonder how these tiny branches can handle the number of birds that perch on them.


Formation Flying: ISO 200, 15mm, f/8.0, 1/2000

The bohemian waxwings came back to our yard this winter for another feeding. The sound this amount of birds make is surreal.

This is just a small bunch of the birds. Most of them were in the trees behind me feasting.

Waxwings, Chris Bates, Photography, nature, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
The Invasion: ISO 320, 200mm, f/8, 1/90

On my way home from work today I noticed the neighbour's crab apple tree was covered with a blanket of Waxwings. I finished my drive home, parked the car in the garage, ran into the house, said hello to my wife, headed downstairs to grab the camera, said I will be back to my wife and then walked to the end of the alley to get some pics of the birds and tree.

I was able to get quite close to these birds. A passerby by said to me that he heard the birds get a little intoxicated by the fermented apples so maybe that is why they are not as skitish as usual.

Click here to see a larger version of this picture.

27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000">

Feeding Waxwing Bohemian Red Deer Alberta Canada Nature
Bohemian Waxwing: ISO 200, 200mm, f/4, 1/1500

Stepped out of the house last weekend and was surprised to see a large flock of waxwings had come to visit the neighbour's berry laden mountain ash tree. The tree branches out over our crab apple tree.

I rushed back inside and grabbed my camera which had a short telephoto on it. I took some shots from just outside the back door of the house and then proceeded to walk slowly towards the birds hoping to get some "up close shots." From my past encounters with these birds I found them to be very skittish. But this time I was able to get fairly close. They must have been hungry.

The video is from a few weeks ago. These same type of birds had visited the trees a street over. They fly in huge flocks in search of food. The neighbourhood fills with the sounds of these beautiful birds and is a sight to see. Canadian winters do have its charms.

Gotcha!


Cedar Waxwing in Apple Tree: ISO 400, 380mm, f/8, 1/350



Waxwing Drinking: ISO 400, 380mm, f/8, 1/350

At long last I caught Cedar Waxwings in our yard!

It has been an unusually dry spring here. The bird bath has been a key attraction in our yard. The Cedar Waxwings have been in the Mountin Ash eating berries still on the tree from last year and then coming down for a drink.

I have spotted them the last few days but I was always in the house and when I go outside they flee. This morning I was working in the gardens and I guess they got used to me not being a threat and I was able to get some quick shots off.

Birds, Birds, Birds


Chickadee: ISO 400, 150mm, f/8, 1/180

The last few days our backyard has been like an international airport. Bird traffic has been heavy. Spring is here and the birds are busy with mating, nesting and training the young.

Monday night I was feeding our pet turtle and noticed through the window a flock of waxwings in our trees. I had been waiting all winter for the waxwings to feed on the berries of the mountain ash high above our crab apple tree. They never came. When I finished feeding the turtle I grabbed the cameras and went outside to watch the birds. It was a rewarding night.

The Robins were out. I didn't manage to get a picture because they hid high on the mountain ash waiting til I departed.

The above photo is of a baby chickadee. He did more hoping from branch to branch than actual flying. Just like the baby wren from last summer, the chickadee hid in the thick brush. It was hard to get a clear shot through the many branches even though I was able to get close.


House Finch: ISO 400, 400mm, f/8, 1/250

The above photo is a House Finch. The birds have been feasting on our blooming shrubs. We are worried that they will all be eaten before they bloom.


Cedar Waxing: ISO 400, 260mm, f/8, 1/500

This is the reason why I ventured out. These waxwings travel in flocks. They come and go real fast. This one is on the look out in the mountain ash. Shortly after this photo this bird flew off with the flock to feed and play elsewhere.