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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Morning Coffee

Cedar Waxwing

This is where we sit each morning, weather permitting, and have our coffee. This morning Phoebe, our Corgi, was still sleepy and just snoozed behind us. It is a special time of day for us, and one we savor, because it's our time to tune into nature. We listen for all birds sounds we hear, and we identify them. We also look through our binoculars to see what's around and happening and there's always something new.

We watched the mist slowly rise off of our pond. The mountain beyond magically appeared through the mist. We wrote in our journal, as we always do. We saw some Yellow Warblers, who are early fall migrants. We heard a Wood Duck fly over and saw a number of other birds. What caught our eye was some Cedar Waxwings sitting in our dogwood tree pulling silk from a fall webworm nest. One was pulling, one was watching. Then they flew up into the pine tree above and we realized they were beginning to build a nest.

Here's a digiscoped image that shows the tail of one of the waxwings on the left, the yellow body of the other on the right. There was no better angle to view the nest, so we mainly saw them from underneath. There was much pulling of the dead fern and some pine needles in their attempts to get the material to stay in the crotch of some branches. They semed fairly ineffective, so it remains to be seen if they will actually proceed here. Sometimes birds just try on a potential nest site for size, then don't go through with it there.

Cedar Waxwings can be late nesters, breeding in August and even into Sept. They nest 4-50 feet high in the fork of a horizontal limb, well out from the trunk. Most building takes place in the morning. They will use string, twigs, yarn, rootlets, grass stems, paper, pine needles and line the nest with moss, grasses or caterpillar silk. They will often be seen taking material from other birds nests, and regularly use old webbing from tent caterpillar and fall webworm nests.

If we hadn't been sitting there, we would never have seen it. Nature is a constantly evolving drama, if you're there to witness it. Do you have a place in your yard where you can sit and watch the show??

Photos © Lillian Stokes, 2007


Jayne said...

What a spectacular view to greet you each morning with your coffee. Hope the waxwings nest building is successful.

RuthieJ said...

I envy you your morning coffee on the workday begins at 5:30 so I have to settle for morning coffee on the deck on Saturdays and Sundays.

I didn't know Cedar Waxwings nest this late. I will certainly keep a better eye out for their nests in my backyard now.

Anonymous said...

I love Cedar Waxwings. They are so elegant.

I didn't realize they nested late in the season either. There have been large flocks of waxwings along the Mohawk River bike path here in upstate New York. I think the birds have been attracted by the abundant berry crop this year.