Friday, February 16, 2007

Berries for the Masses

Decided to take a walk around the office park. Don't get a chance to do that too often and with the temperatures at a very comfy level, why not?

One of my favorite stops has become across the street from our office. It has a larger pond that is divided by a roadway between parking lots. Part of the pond goes underneath a parking structure and the Hooded Mergansers use that part to hide from anyone or thing it fells is looking a bit too hungry.

On the northern edge of the pond is a row of Brazilian Peppers and just beyond that lies part of Lake Destiny. This time of year, the peppers are loaded with berries. In turn, they are full of birds.

I usually walk past the peppers and loop around behind them to view the lake and continue on with my walk back to the office. Today the birds were flying out right in front of me so I stopped and got the camera ready.

The majority of the birds were Myrtle Warblers who were greedily swallowing up berries as quickly as possible. Making it difficult for them was a very territorial Northern Mockingbird who would chase any Warbler it saw stopping on a branch. This was what was causing the birds to fly out in front of me.

Eventually, a few Waxwings signaled their approach with their high calls and landed among the branches above and next to me. They seemed to be trying to blend in and avoid the Mockers detection. It worked for a while and the Waxwings could manage a few gulps before being found out.

I thought it would be easy to get some shots of these close birds and, indeed, they were landing in plain view just feet from me. Excellent opportunities! Better than I ever have had. Camera up, press the shutter to focus, bird GONE!

Every time the Waxwing would come into focus, the Mockingbird would dive in and chase it off. This went on for almost an hour. I did finally get one photo that actually looked like a Waxwing but it was not easy.

Cedar Waxwing

I could have stood there all day had I not had work to do and a family to get to later. The number of Myrtle Warblers was impressive and the Waxwings were and added treat. Goldfinches called from the trees in the parking lot.

Time to break the spell and head back across the street.

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