Where would I rather be, here or there? One friend, Chris Dodds, is spending his winter doing private owl workshops. Yes, I’d love to be out photographing owls but not able to do the walking required to do the species I’d like to get. Another friend is on a cruise in a warm climate. That sounds pretty good too! My choice would be with my dear friend, Gay, who is with Joe and Mary Ann McDonald in Tanzania!!! Not only would the species be fantastic but I could pay a porter to carry my gear to and from my room!
BUT, I am here in the land of ice and snow. It’s really been quite a good winter with not much snow to contend with. We have had cold, clear sunny days and gray snowy days but the snow has been light and leaves everything with a frosted look.
My friends, Gwen & Gerry, faithfully watched a couple of trees in Bracebridge for me. One, an ornamental crab in a town park and the other a mountain ash by our downtown Tim Horton’s. In early January Bohemian Waxwings found the bright orange crab apples but the birds were not there reliably and even though I made a few visits I wasn’t able to photograph them. Still hoping they would find the mountain ash berries when they finished the crabapples we kept a close watch out for visitors.
At last about fifty birds sat at the very top of a large tree and about eight or so would fly down into the berry branches. They would try to grab two or three berries before taking off. They worked in shifts flying in and back across the road. It wasn’t the traffic or people walking or people watching close-by that set them off. They have their own timing worked out. The only pattern was that I had time for ony a couple of shots before they would be gone. Two sessions got a few keepers.
After the birds twist their heads around to pull the berries off their stems sometimes they toss them up to reposition them for swallowing. They don’t always do it and it seems to be a combination of luck and preparation to catch the action.
One of my fist images of Bohemian Waxwings was taken before I changed over to digital. I still like it! These ones were feeding on winterberries.
There seem to be two migrations of Bomenian Waxwings. Ones in the image above were taken in early winter. I have seen them a few years when they come down early and feed on fresh winterberries found on bushes in large swampy areas then move on. The second flush come down later and stop to feed on the berries of native and ornamental trees and shrubs that have been frozen already. They all stay only as long as there is lots of fruit in the area.
The lighter snows we have had means that lots of tall vegetation is still standing and not burried under deep drifts. Usually, by this time of the winter it has all been flattened down. One still, cold, snowy day led to the following images. The still air and light snow allowed the fog forming above the Bala falls to float and form a soft wall behind this vegetation.
I have a display opening next Tuesday, February 1st at the Muskoka Information Centre, South of Gravenhurst on Hwy 11 and my big show opening February 26 in Bracebridge. More on that soon!
Lots of winter left and each day is different with more photographic possibilities!
All the images in this blog are the sole property of the photographer, Eleanor Kee Wellman, are copyrighted and may not be used for any reason without the written permission of the photographer