Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Bohemian Rhapsody

A couple of days after chasing and not finding the Northern Hawk Owl, or any Bohemian Waxwing after a 5 hour drive - each way - to Ottawa, Ontario, I heard that Bohemian Waxwings had been seen a little closer to home, on Toronto Island.  The Bohemian Waxwings are such lovely singers.   I heard them singing before I saw them and as there were only Bohemians present I was serenaded with their lovely trilling songs, rather than the irritating high pitch whine of the Cedar Waxwings.

I was on the Toronto Island this morning after reading Norm Murr's posting on OntBirds yesterday. He had seen the Bohemian's along with Cedar Waxwings and a Red-headed Woodpecker. I have chased these darker cousins of the Cedar Waxwings from Anchorage, Alaska to Ottawa, Ontario and thought I'd never be in the right place at the time for these guys.

Norm e-mailed me exact directions to the field where they had been flocking and the birds appeared on cue for me. Well, almost. When I arrived, there were no birds of any kind. I did hear some distant calls, so I pulled out my iPhone and played the Bohemian Waxwing call, to listen to see if what I was hearing were the Bohemians. Within 30 seconds of playing the calls, not only was I hearing the Bohemian Waxwings, I was seeing a flock of about 10 of them flying into a tree behind me. I got my binoculars on them and was thrilled to have a great look at a lovely pair of these darkly beautiful birds.

And within a few minutes I was hearing the gentle trilling of half a dozen or more of the Bohemian Birdies. I stood in the clearing for about 20 minutes being serenaded. The birds kept coming to a berry bush and grabbing a snack, then flying back into the bare trees to eat. A beautiful, sunny November morning, down by the lake, enjoying a Bohemian Rhapsody, to the tune of Big Year Bird number 551.

Tomorrow I embark on a week long adventure. I will be driving to Lewes, Delaware for a pelagic and then flying down to Arizona for some winter desert birds. Lots of driving, boating, flying and walking. All in a Year's work, I guess.

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