Cedar Waxwings at TCC South Campus and my ongoing mission 2-7-2017

For the most part yesterday was a very good day for the birds. My normal ritual when I arrive at school is walking around for a while and see what I can find. I started doing this ritual last year when I stopped to watch the pollinators and insects at school once I started to take my camera with me. Anyway yesterday was a very cool day because I got to see a mass Cedar Waxwing rush. There were hundreds of them just flying about and perching in the trees. From eight or so in the morning to by the time I headed to the TCC math building where my class is held; just dozens of the little beauties. Cedar Waxwings are just one of my absolute favorite birds. They are natures busy nomads. The thing about Waxwings is that you never know when they will turn up or go away. The term here today gone tomorrow never seemed to be more to the truth until I start my birding quest in 2014. Technically I count 2015 as the point I really began to get serious about birding. The Waxwings are very interesting birds and I have been known to call them Egyptian birds. For one thing they have a dark mask that kind of make a point away from their eye that looks like the Egyptian eye make up. Another interesting feature is the smoothness of the birds. They hardly look like they have feathers at all. They are very handsome seamless birds. They do have feathers but they are very fine feathers and are very fine. The Cedar Waxwings also have a bit of red on their winds and their tails have a yellow bar. The yellow bar to the person who named the bird was the ID mark because the tail looked like it had been dipped in wax. The Cedar Waxwing is a very community driven bird. They love to travel in groups and hardly ever fuss or get into squabbles. They are a very cooperative bird and often help each other out to feed in some cases. They just love berries and sometimes they will eat over ripened fruits and wind up getting plastered. You heard me right they eat fermented fruit and get drunk which makes them very vulnerable to flying crazy and if not careful they might fly into buildings and window, or maybe in the cross-hairs of a hungry predator, or they could be able to be approached by a human. These birds are very interesting but it is a very curious on why they get falling down drunk. I don't know if is on purpose or by mistake but it does occur from time to time. I have never seen a drunk Waxwing before but I have read about it in field guides and pod casts and I have heard stories from other birders on YouTube and other sources. The Waxwings at school never really stop to land; normally they just pass by flying over the campus ground letting me just take a glimpse as they fly out of site. Yesterday was very different for me. They didn't just land at the campus but they gathered in huge numbers. I have never seen so many Waxwings in my life. As I took the photos I noticed some went to some of the berry bushes and trees and began to feed. I did notice before I saw the flocks come in their familiar droppings. A good indicator of weather or not a group of nomadic Cedar Waxwings have payed a place a visit is to look for their very odd droppings. The droppings are kind of a clear jelly like mix that is very interesting to study. It is not like regular bird droppings and is quite unique. I have noticed the Waxwing dropping in my own front yard on the driveway for the record. Cedar Waxwings make a very soft call that is like a short whistle. To the trained ear it is unmistakable. Once you hear it you might want to start looking for a bunch of little yellow missiles with wings going by. They come in fast and they come in large groups. I saw several small groups go into several big groups as they came to rest in the trees by to Rotunda Lecture Hall in the center of the Campus. That is where the Waxwings thought it seemed like a good spot to hang around up in the tops of the trees. When I was taking pictures I focused on a few individuals but I thought it was best to get group shot both big and small. When taking pictures of these you might have a hard time photographing a foraging party. When feeding it is hard to get them to be still they just do what they please but if you can get them perched in the trees when at rest then start to take photos however you wish. These birds never stop to fascinate. My little Nikon Coolpix may not be the fanciest camera ever but me and and that little camera have seen some pretty amazing things. Yesterday even though it became sadder when I found out that Richard Hatch from the 1978 Original Science Fiction Series Battlestar Galactica who played Captain Apollo passed away; that morning was the most beautiful and most extraordinary morning I have had when birding at school. I do study but when I have nothing much to do I practice my naturalist skills and fine tune them. I have found so many things that most of the student body has missed. I have seen many different species and have made a project dedicated to the wildlife of that campus and all other TCCD campuses. I have seen a lot of wildlife at both the Southeast Campus and a lot more at TCC South. I attend South Campus but on occasion I will go birding at the pond by TCC Southeast in Arlington. I have seen rabbits at TCC Southeast and many different birds at both campuses; TCC South is more for the many pollinators like the ones I have seen in last spring and fall semester. Each Campus is home to many wonderful species and as a Texas Master Naturalist I have tried to spread the word mostly to the few friends I make every semester and they start to see what they are missing. I do share my photos both in person and via facebook. I have been finding a lot of different things and as a naturalist I have a new found appreciation for the underdogs. I always find time to look for new and exciting species at my school when I have some free time. It keeps me busy and keeps me away from the hustle and bustle of the video game room and just sitting at the Student Union building. Why just sit around when I am done with my studies. I make the search part of my reward system. Life at the campus is very quiet for the most part I can just pick up my camera and take photos at the pollinator friendly flowers and I may get looked at funny but you know I don't care what others think of me. It really doesn't bother me. I have dedicated my life to understand species deeper and as a naturalist and a wildlife enthusiast I am going to keep on documenting my stuff and continue to contribute to citizen science in this time of uncertainty. It is good to keep a life list and I want my life list to grow so I can keep a track of all I have learned and what I have seen. It make my campus life more exciting and very interesting. I never know what I am going to find next. That goes for all the other places I go. I find this site to be very good and it does aid in my mission to understand all life forms a little bit better. I know I have said this before but I can't stress it enough. Well that is it for this post until next time nature fans I will talk to you later.

Publicado el 8 de febrero de 2017 19:17 por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man


Fotos / Sonidos


Chinito (Bombycilla cedrorum)


Febrero 6, 2017 a las 07:38 MAÑANA CST


This is a more up to date bunch of photos that I took early today at school. The Cedar Waxwings are back and they came out in droves today. There were so many of them of them. They are just one of my absolute favorite birds. These guys came in in a few large flocks and several small flocks. I usually see these birds fly over the campus grounds but today was an entirely different story. Today they were resting in the trees and eating the berries off the bushes. It was cool. They would just come and go and their whistling calls are unmistakable. These birds are a tan cream color with yellow, and red details. They also have "Egyptian" Eyeliner and a dark mask. I call these Egyptian birds because of their eye markings. These guys are very social birds and they gather in great bunches to feed. They are nature's little nomads and they never argue or fight among themselves. They have been known to feed each other and are very cooperative. That is why they are so interesting to me. I just love it when I see these guys.


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