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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Year of the Irruptives

This winter started off with a bang. There were early reports of Evening and Pine Grosbeaks, both crossbills, Redpolls, and Pine Siskins well south of their usual northerly haunts, including even Ohio. By midwinter, however, several of these species seemed to have put on the brakes, with the huge invasion we were envisioning never quite coming together.

Fortunately, another irruptive, the Bohemian Waxwing, did come south far farther than normal. Dave Slager yesterday found 50 or more of these beauts at Huff Park in Grand Rapids, and there were additional reports from Berrien County MI and even Indiana. So, of course I had to take a quick jaunt over to Huff to see the madness. It didn't disappoint:
If the Cedar Waxwing is a prince, this species surely is the king. They really are stunningly gorgeous.

You may notice that the above photos appear edited. They are. I removed the vignetting caused by digiscoping of very close birds, as well as the uneven background, and even the chromatic abberations, by several clicks of the mouse. For comparison, here are the originals in the same order:

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