Monday, November 30, 2009

Creeper and Waxwings

Sunday morning was gloomy but pleasant outside and I spent a couple hours birding the neighborhood. Just as I started I ran into a large mixed species foraging flock of songbirds at Broadmeade and Chester Forest. I watched these birds for awhile and was most excited to find a single Brown Creeper. This is a winter resident species that I only see a few times per year. It's a small brown speckled bird that resembles a wren, but has a stiff tail like a woodpecker and usually stays on tree trunks. It doesn't peck the trees like a woodpecker but just pokes around with its delicate curved bill for insects in the bark. It has a distinctive foraging style of shimmying up the trunk of one tree, then flying downwards to the bottom of another tree and shimmying up that one.

For the past couple weeks I've gotten fleeting glimpses of a few Cedar Waxwings which I recognized by their distinctive high whistling calls. This is another winter resident species which is much more common than the creeper. Yesterday I finally found a large flock of them on Meadowheath. I estimated there were 250 birds flying around and perching in the trees near Briar Hollow. I took this photo showing most of the flock, and the photo below showing some of these sleek birds a little closer up.

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