During a hike on Wednesday — and it was a perfect day for it; I’m really sorry if you had to be inside — I spotted a gang of waxwings cavorting on either side of Keene Creek in the ravine around which Skyline Parkway twists.
I’m guessing there were at least a dozen of them, more waxwings than I recall seeing in one area before. They were being fairly cooperative. Three of them snacked for a minute or two on berries just below the cliff on which I was standing (not too close to the edge). They were close enough that I thought I might even be able to get a picture, and I dug my camera out of my bag.
The question: Cedar waxwings, or Bohemians?
I’ve seen many cedar waxwings, and I don’t seem to have any trouble spotting them. A couple of weeks ago, I saw one while I was having a picnic lunch at the Civic Center.
Bohemians are just about as common around here, I’ve been told. But as far as I know, I’ve never seen one.
So I also had to check the book to remind myself of the differences. Three stand out: Bohemians are slighlty bigger and stouter; cedar waxwings are brownish colored in the breasts, Bohemians are more of a gray; and Bohemians have white on their wings and tails, cedars don’t.
I really think I was seeing a group of Bohemians. One more good look would have clinched the deal. But by the time I got the camera out, the waxwings were gone — not just from the berries close to me, but from the area. I no longer could hear their high-pitched, buzzy chirping.
I returned to the spot about three hours later, and again there was no sign of them.
I saw lots of other birds along the way, most of which I couldn’t identify. I did see a common yellowthroated warbler for sure, and I probably saw a black-and-white warbler. I might have seen a mourning warbler and either a Cape May or a Blackburnian warbler. I saw my first white-throated sparrow of the year, although I’ve heard them several times. Some sort of sparrow all but attacked me at Ski Trail Knob, but I couldn’t figure out what kind of sparrow it was. (I think there were little sparrows around.)
And I saw a lot of these flowers, only in real life they weren’t overexposed:
Can anybody tell me what they are?
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