Flying in formation

Snow geese in flight.I saw something last weekend I’d never seen off television. Tens of thousands of Snow geese covered a rather large pond near Kleinfeltersville, occasionally lifting off en masse to create a low cloud of white over the water. The birds were enroute their Arctic birthing grounds.

At rest, they virtually blanketed large portions of the pond, mostly paddling around in small circles filling the air with a sound like hundreds of playing puppies. Here and there, a pair would actually move from one side of the crowd to another, but mostly they stayed where they landed.

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Change in slow motion

Cedar WaxwingI’ve captured some amazing specimens while out bird hunting (with the Nikon camera), but when I looked at the images of the mostly tawny body, crested head and black bandit mask I’d captured the other day on South Mountain, I darn near danced. I’d always had a sneaking suspicion Cedar waxwings existed only in the Hallmark store, like the ornament my sister sent me as a tree decoration one recent Christmas. Until the other day, on South Mountain.

Cedar waxwings live in Pennsylvania year-round, but their population thins as one looks southerly on a map. According to my bird book, they can be found in winter as far south as Georgia, and seem to favor small mountains and berry bushes.  I found them at nearly 1,900 feet above sea level, in a spot where a nearly non-existent breeze was made stronger and cooler as it channeled up a dent in the ridge. That breeze and the blueberry barrens near where I found them was what drew them.

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