Today was the last day of my family’s annual vacation to Woodstock, VT. In good irruption years this place is a haven for birding as well as other activities like skiing and snowshoeing. Today I witnessed something I hadn’t seen in over a year. Here is the story of what I remembered.
To make a point, birding-wise, this year’s trip to Woodstock was not as good. Being caught in a blizzard didn’t help the matter as conditions were not good for going outside and wandering in search of our winged friends. The last day the snow changed over to poring cold rain. As I sat in my room, packing up I started to see single, then small groups of songbirds flying into a tall tree nearby. I continued putting books into my bag watching the birds flying over until a mass had gathered in the tree. Then I knew it had to be something. I unpacked my binoculars and camera, threw on my jacket and ran downstairs and outside into the downpour. As I walked towards the tree, I thought the flock could perhaps be waxwings, regarding the large movement I saw on my trip last year and the location of the tree near one of the berry spots surrounding the inn.
They indeed were waxwings, and clearly Cedar, just what I had expected as this was not a good year for the more irruptive waxwing, the Bohemian. By this time I was drenched, my camera lens soaked and unable to get any recognizable pictures I just sat and watched, remembering a similar event that occurred last year:
I awoke early, refreshed after a nights sleep, prepared for a last day of skiing and birding. After getting dressed I got my binos and old camera ready, took one last look out the window, saw a large group of unrecognizable group of birds in the front tree and walked away. Wait! Unrecognizable birds!! I jammed my room key in the slot and opened the door. A large flock was massing in the front tree, in front of the beautiful blue sky. They were sitting in front of large berry trees chock full of delicious fruit. I thought for a second then had it, a bird that had been spending the winter irrupting in record numbers. Bohemian Waxwings! Too excited for words, as this was a lifer for me I ran downstairs and into the day, across the lot to the fruiting tree. They were beautiful Bohemian Waxwings, with vibrant red on their wings and under their tail, calling in a buzzy tone, massing the berry bushes and polishing off the fruit. I frantically ran around snapping photos, so excited.
As I sat in the rain remembered that day, remembering the beautiful Bohemians. But soon, I was drenched to the gills and cold. I walked inside, and sat by the warm fire, always having a place in my heart for the beautiful birds we call waxwings.