This cold clear day—cold enough that the ponds are freezing over finally—while hiking Beech Hill with my dog, Jack, I noticed a group of four Bohemian Waxwings perched in the bare branches of a small tree. We stopped so I could try for some distant photos. They took wing. And while we stood there on the trail, they flew our way and got very near and low and I realized they were wanting to alight on a winter berry bush not five or six feet away from us.
The birds called softly as they circled the bush—a sweet, burry call unlike the thin plaintive voice of Cedar Waxwings—then flew around back of us, circled us and the bush again, calling all the while, and I could hear their wingbeats and we stood still and I hoped so hard for them to ignore us standing there and wind up in the braches of the winterberry bush.
But they didn’t. They nearly did, but they didn’t—they veered away and back to the branches of a tree not far from where I first saw them.
So I didn’t get the photo. But what an amazing fifteen or twenty seconds of being encircled by a flock of winter waxwings.
There were small furtive flocks of American Tree Sparrows up there, too, today. And even I found a budding pussy willow.
Tomorrow, the calendar changes.
Beech Hill List
Beginning at 3:30 p.m., I hiked the open trail.
1. White-breasted Nuthatch (v)
2. American Tree Sparrow
3. Black-capped Chickadee
4. Tufted Titmouse (v)
5. Bohemian Waxwing
6. American Crow
7. Herring Gull
v = Voice only
**Voice only elsewhere