Saturday, March 7, 2015

Surprise Guests At Cedar Inn

      At first I thought the swallows had returned. I was so happy! But when I turned my eyes toward the bridge where they hang their mud nests, no birds flew.  The air between my cedar tree and the naked Cottonwood at creekside, however, was alive with small birds, thirty-five to forty I would suppose. All of them sounding a high squeak or single whistled note.

They were Cedar Waxwings, looking for all the world like very well dressed masked heroes from the 1800s. Look at those brilliant red dots and the bright yellow stripe on the tail! Fancy-schmancy if I ever did see it, and that mask!  What a blessing they were to me as I leaned back against the Cottonwood, soaking up the sunshine. They flew back and forth from, all together, from Cedar to Cottonwood all afternoon. Yes, I stayed and watched after going inside for the binoculars. Look carefully at how smoothly the colors ease their way from one hue to the next. Very classy.
     The red dots, by the way (I know you wanted to know so I will save you the trouble of googling it) are elongated feathers on the tips of their wings.  Apparently they reminded people of sealing wax when bird names were being bandied about. The red is seen more often on older, larger birds so they might be an extra attractant for those looking for a mate.

      These darlings are only in my neck of the woods in the wintertime and I usually don't seen many, if any, at my particular feeders. Every now and then one or two will stop by but never before have I seen the entire extended family like today.  Thank goodness that old Cedar still stands and is thick with blue berries. Waxwings eat berries almost exclusively.
       I did try to take it easy out side today, since I had been mostly sitting since Wednesday. I caught all the goldfish, except one, and moved them to the smaller tank. The big pond desperately needs the mud bucketed out of it before the waterlilies really start shooting forth.  I'll get a friend to help me with that I think.  It needed doing last spring so you can imagine what it looks like now.  That muck is wonderful for the gardens. The poor fish have little water left to swim in at all.  No wonder it was so easy to nab them.  I'll get the big guy tomorrow, once he's gotten a little bit lonely.
      I was pretty whipped out when I came inside after the bird watching and fixing a couple of little leaks in the watering system in M's Wood.  Probably should have stopped before that last little job. Hindsight.  Spring is right around the corner and I am more than ready for some warmer afternoons.

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