Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Wednesday Vignette: Pool party!

Saturday morning was cold, the sky was gray, and the air was heavily laden with moisture, already signalling the storm that would arrive that evening.  However, what immediately caught my attention as I looked out my office window was the unusual flurry of activity on our backyard patio.  Birds were furiously swooping back and forth between the mimosa tree and our fountain.  Although smaller in size than the crows that made an appearance one evening last year, these masked invaders were far greater in number.

The entire tree was full of birds but I could photograph only a portion of it from inside the house

Winter visitors here, it appears that an entire flock of Cedar Waxwings had decided to stop by for a bath


I tried to get better photos but, whenever I drew close to the window, they took off.  Realizing that their activity would show up on one of our security cameras, we pulled the footage to provide a better idea of the party.  It reaches its height about 30 seconds into this clip.  (It's best viewed in full screen.)



For more Wednesday Vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

26 comments:

  1. I know this post is about the birds, but I couldn't stop looking the Echium? beside the fountain. Something I can only drool over, here, in New Jersey. Oh, and I loved the birds. ~Steve B.

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    1. That's Echium webbii, Steve. It's smaller and more well-behaved than most Echium, although it's looking a little peaked at the moment. I'm hoping the rain in our forecast will give it a boost.

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  2. Whoa - that is quite the pool party! I bet it feels great to see them all convene in your garden, to take advantage of your kindly provided swimming hole. Thank heavens for security cameras, huh? Love the shot of the tree, too. It must have been quite the spectacle!

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    1. Well, when we installed the security cameras my husband said that we'd end up using them mainly for wildlife sightings. That's proven to be true. First it was the paper-thief coyote, then the raccoons tangling with the drip irrigation system, and now cedar waxwings.

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  3. What fun! How convenient that you managed to capture it on the security camera. I've never seen a cedar waxwing.

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    1. They pay us a visit each winter but I've never seen them in such numbers. They didn't hang around long this year either. They're fruit eaters and, since our Arbutus were all pruned last month, maybe they're perturbed.

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  4. They're such beautiful birds. It must be good luck to have a whole flock choose your garden as a pool party destination.

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    1. I hope you're right, Peter! I could use an extra dose of luck this year.

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  5. How fun to have such pretty and charming birds as Cedar Waxwings partying in your fountain. Your garden looks great with the rain and I see you have more chances of rain over the next week or so. This time of year we get our rain off the Pacific so our weather forecasts show a lot of western activity.

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    1. I heard we could get a full week of rain, Shirley! What a change that'll be, although I can't help worrying about what that'll mean for people in the burn areas.

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  6. Their good luck to find a gardener who provides for them.

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    1. I was surprised that they fixated on the fountain like they did but maybe they passed by at just the right time in their migration for a bath and a good drink.

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  7. How very delightful to have these beautiful birds in your fountain...and to have it on tape! Love it.

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    1. I frequently have birds splashing in the fountain but I've never had so many doing so at the same time. The finches usually appear in very small groups and scrub jays don't allow any other birds to share the space with them at all.

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  8. How wonderful! If I saw that from my office window, I would not get very much work done!

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    1. I think I was lucky to notice them when I did, Margaret. I spent considerable time trying to get good photos from inside the house but cedar waxwings seem to be more apprehensive of a human presence than my resident birds so the security tape proved to be useful. The waxwings moved on following their bath so my garden must be short on the fruit they like.

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  9. Such elegant birds and to have so many at one time. What fun!

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    1. This was a first, Lisa. They usually visit in much smaller numbers.

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  10. That is amazing. Interesting how almost all of them took off at the same time. Was that perhaps when they became aware of your presence behind the window? I always enjoy watching birds in our birdbaths! Happy New Year!

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    1. The timing of their mass flight was probably related to my various attempts to photograph them from inside the house. I tried to be very slow and as unobtrusive as possible with my approach but, even when I was well back from the window, they reacted.

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  11. Fun to see so many Cedar Waxwings at once. Thanks for sharing the pool party video!

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    1. I was lucky that the security camera is pointed in the right direction as they weren't tolerant of paparazzi!

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  12. Great catch with your security camera. It functions as a wildlife camera too--added bonus!

    Here a flock of CWs will strip a heavily berried Toyon or Pyracantha in one day.

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    1. When I read that the cedar waxwings are fruit eaters, I was surprised they didn't hang around as, even though the Arbutus tree's fruit was recently pruned away, the Toyon is still laden with berries. They must have discovered a better deal elsewhere.

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