Portraits of Wildflowers

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Archive for February 15th, 2015

Cedar waxwings and possumhaws

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Cedar Waxwing Grabbing Possumhaw Drupe 1613B

February 15 of 2010 was a good photographic day for me. I’d gone behind an office building on Capital of Texas Highway where I knew some possumhaw trees, Ilex decidua, were covered with small red fruits (technically called drupes). Once I got to the trees, though, my goal of photographing them in their own right quickly gave way to a new one, namely to photograph the cedar waxwings, Bombycilla cedrorum, that had also discovered the possumhaws and were feasting on the many fruits.

Birds often make for difficult subjects because they move so quickly, and that was the case here. Although I did manage to get some pictures in which a cedar waxwing came out sharp and was even caught open-mouthed right in the act of swallowing a drupe (yay me!), I’ve made a considered editorial decision—which is to say I’ve done what I feel like doing—to show you a photograph in which one of the birds was moving so fast that parts of it came out a little blurred. Still, I like the way the fluttering of the wing at the right and the lunging of the bird’s head suggest the rapid movement involved in snatching one of the drupes from a twig.

When I went back the next day, by the way, the possumhaws had been stripped bare of all their fruit.

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I’m away from home. You’re welcome to leave comments, but please understand if I’m slow in responding.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 15, 2015 at 5:50 AM

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