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Nature Photography - Done Naturally

Cedar Waxwing

Bombycilla cedrorum

Cedar Waxwings are one of my favorite species, hands down. Part of it is their beauty, and their uniqueness. The crest, the dark mask, the splashes of color on the wing tips and tip of the tail...they're just such beautiful, uniquely plumaged birds. Part of it is also their character and their unpredictability.  They're not uncommon by any means, but they're not a species you can typically go out and specifically try to find.  They're unpredictable...there one day, gone the next.  It's that unpredictability, the realization that you may not see this species again for a while, that makes me appreciate them when they are around.

 This photo was taken on a gloomy, drizzly day in June of 2011, during a vacation in Oregon. We were staying at one of our favorite vacation spots, Cannon Beach.  Birding is wonderful right on the beach, particularly with Haystack Rock holding nesting populations of Horned Puffins, Common Murre, Black Oystercatchers, and more.  However, just up the road is Ecola State Park, a gem of a little park that usually is relatively quiet compared to the busy beach area.  There's a mature, dense forest that covers much of the state park, a dark, dense mass of green that holds many hidden treasures such as Varied Thrush, Hermit Warbler, Pacific Wren, and other species you don't generally see in South Dakota. I was walking through the forest on this day when I came out of the woods into a large brushy clearling.  I immediately heard the soft calls of Cedar Waxwing, and saw a large group perched nearby.  When I DO find Cedar Waxwings, I often find them to be quite tame, and fortunately that was the case on this day.  A gloomy, dark day generally isn't the greatest for photography, but with the dense green of Ecola State Park in the background, the muted lighting that lets you see some of the detail in the plumage (hard to get with a Cedar Waxwing sometimes), and a chosen perch with a bit of character (love the little mossy bit it's perched on), this is one of my favorite photos.

Cedar Waxwing - Bombycilla cedrorum

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