The waxwings and Pine Grosbeaks have about depleted every berry and apple in the arrowhead. I have been photographing the waxwings since the end of November and now with the berries gone, I figured they would have moved on. On Monday, it was warm for this time of the year. The snow and ice had been melting for a few days of the same weather. I was checking out a few of my waxwing haunts when the sky erupted with hundreds of dark silhouettes. I was amazed to see a flock of at least 300 Bohemian and Cedar Waxwings circling an area of mountain ash trees. I knew there were no berries on these trees, because I had photographed there often. This flock had been eating berry residue on the ground; what the melting snow was revealing in berries. Each snowfall had covered up berries that dropped during the high winds accompanying the snow. So there were layers of berries the waxwings were picking through.
I quietly stood in an area that had ice and water cover. I knew that sooner or later these hungry birds would descend for another meal. I had to stand for about 30 minutes until first, a Common Redpoll descended, not for a berry, but a drink. Soon, numbers of waxwings joined them for baths and drinks, while others gorged themselves on the downed berries. It was quite a sight to see and hear and I ended up with some of my best "grounded" waxwing photos of the year.
Cedar Waxwing amongst the flock of Bohemians
A small area under a mountain ash tree, showing the eating habits of the waxwings. They eat for 20 to 30 seconds and leave with a whir of wings... the next wave lands.