Surprise and delight


Last summer I became enamored with the Cedar Waxwings that make their presence known in the great field behind our North Carolina place. I don’t know how I’d never noticed them in all the years of my bird obsession; for sure the high mountain altitude brings a different crop when compared with our flat South Carolina back yard, but still Waxwings are common and plentiful. And these beauties are difficult to miss. The crest flips up (isn’t that distinctive?), and the eyes are wrapped in the most fantastic, elegant black Zorro mask. It’s upper wings are tipped in a brilliant red, and the tail–it’s so fun–the tail looks as if it was accidentally dipped right down into a can of bright yellow paint.


Then just the other day I was standing at the kitchen window when I looked out to see a mass of birds in the tree on the edge of Bickley’s Pond. From the distance I couldn’t tell their make and model, so I grabbed my camera and stepped outside for a closer look. In one fell swoop all the birds took off for the Cope’s yard, where I got close enough for this. 



Is it?



Could it be?





what a beauty


It was the first time I’d noticed Waxwings in our back yard, and true to form they fascinated and delighted me.


Aren’t they just the coolest?




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Day 10: Tempting Fate

Having a new-to-us place at the top of a tall mountain means there’s lots to learn about an ecosystem that’s much different from our central South Carolina plains. The flora and fauna–in fact, the wildflowers alone–beg for hours of fascinating study.

But what’s caught my eye (and ear!) in these early days is the new crop of birds that live here, many with unfamiliar markings and foreign songs.

i’m a little obsessed


For several weeks I’ve joyfully watched and photographed from afar: striking Cedar Waxwings, sweet Veerys, loud and distinctive Catbirds. And in every case, I’m anxious for a closer look. I realize a feeder would bring them in, but there is the worrisome issue of the black bears, so plentiful here I’ve heard from knowing neighbors the seed will bring the creatures right onto your deck as if they’ve been invited for dinner.

(The thought gives one plenty of reason to pause.)

And still my interest in the birds has gotten the better of me. Three weekends ago I brought a small feeder, filled it with wild birdseed and hung it high, high up, just in view through the giant great room window.




Every morning I get up and hang the thing; each night I dutifully take it down and bring it safe inside. The effort has not borne fruit, however, as the multitude of birds flitting about our meadow have shown absolutely no interest.

Until yesterday, that is, when the feeder welcomed its first visitor.


looks like she enjoys the view, too

so much to see
this is quite a view, is what he’s thinking


Yee-haw, a Goldfinch!!!!! we thought, snapping photo after photo. So happy you’ve come!


well, hello


And then my very next thought:

I hope the Cedar Waxwings show before the bears!




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