A Thousand New Birds

Matt and I made a slight detour for a daytrip to Yellowstone a little over a week ago.  It wasn't that far out of the way so... why not?
Waxwings against a grey January sky.
Less than five minutes into our river stroll it was already more than worth it.  We almost immediately encountered a new bird--the Bohemian Waxwing!  And by that, I mean we encountered about 1,000 of them.

It was utterly delightful.  They were so thick in the trees I couldn't help but think of an apple tree laden with fruit.   A bountiful harvest!  Heavy with birds!  The boughs were a flutter with wings.  Their little heads peaked out everywhere.
In addition to coating the trees there was a steady cascade of birds down to the river's edge for a drink or a dunk--and back up to the tree again.  Matt and I stood under the trees in amazement at their constant activity.
The rocks are hopping with birds.  It was quite the bathing/drinking hot spot.
Eventually they took to the air, basically en mass, swooping and soaring off into the horizon.  It was stunning watching them shift through space as seemingly a single entity.

I love birds.  They're so neat.
Cedar Waxwings, cousin to the Bohemian Waxwing, are seasonal guests around our place.  Our nextdoor neighbors have a Mountain Ash tree which draws the birds to us each fall with its clumps of bright orange berries.  Range maps tell me it is entirely possibly for us to see both varieties in town, but we never have.  I will have to look more closely next year.  They make mixed flocks.  Perhaps I've just overlooked a few Bohemians amidst the mob of Cedars.

Both types have a super cool tail, tipped in yellow.  I always think it looks like they dunked the their tails into a tray of paint.  The Bohemians have some added red highlights to make them even flashier.  The red is actually what initially made me aware these weren't our average Cedar Waxwings flocking about.  They both sport a pretty sharp looking bandit mask.

Let's say it again, just because:  I love birds.  They're so neat.
The Bohemian Waxwing becomes number 194 on my life list.
Part of the flock is visible just above the treeline, near center frame, with the Gardner River and Matt in the foreground.  
Sometimes sightings are so brief and limited, just a little taste of things to come.  This first encounter was more like an all you can eat buffet.


  1. That's so neat!...I need to get my bird notebook out and start logging birds again...
    ~Have a lovely day!

    1. I used to keep much more detailed notes than I do now, but even a little adds quite a bit of interest for me.


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