Saturday Snapshot Nov. 16: Magical Realism

At first, what drew my attention were the birds on top of the distant trees, sillouetted against the predawn sky. What were they?

Before SunriseBefore Sunrise 1Must be the hardy European Starlings, I thought. My birding instinct prodded me to get out of the house to find out, at 7:30 am, in -13C temperature.

As I got closer, their buzzing sound reminded me that I’d heard them before, in flocks, making sounds almost like cicadas, but lighter, more metallic and electric. By then, morning had broken. Indeed, they were not Starlings but Waxwings.

Morning has brokenThe sun shed its glorious light and I was much gratified to see that all those plump bellies were not Cedar Waxwings which I’d seen in the summer. From their grey pot belly, I could tell they were Bohemian Waxwings. Of course, they will be spending their winter here. The Cedar Waxwings had all gone south.

Bohemian WaxwingsWhat attracted them to our neighborhood? My stalking skill led me to find out. Ah… berries:

Frozen berriesIt was a delight watching them feast on these frozen fruits for breakfast:

Bohemian WaxwingsGot it!

Got itAnother oneSoon, washed by the glowing sunrise, their greyish plumage began to change into a magnificent color. No CGI (computer-generated images) here:

No CGIJust pure magical realism:

Washed by the morning sun

Magical Realism

Bohemian Sunrise


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.



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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

44 thoughts on “Saturday Snapshot Nov. 16: Magical Realism”

  1. Marvelous images! I wonder if I might have some Waxwings in my neighborhood too – I recognize the buzzing sound, actually I’m tempted to call it clamor. (In Norwegian they are called: Sidensvans)


  2. Great shots! I would have guessed starlings, too, and probably not bothered to investigate further. I’m so glad that you did!


  3. This photo essay is lovely, Arti! That is magical how their coloring changes after they eat a hearty breakfast. I’m glad that my after dinner indigestion doesn’t show in my coloring. I’m also glad that I read this in Manhattan where the temperature right now is a balmy 16C (I cheated and had to research the Fahrenheit to Celsius conversion).


    1. LA,

      You wouldn’t believe what we’re having now… heavy blowing snow, -11C, and yes, I use Google to convert every time, that’s exactly 12.2F Things can change in 24 hrs, or fewer than that.

      And you’re right. Nothing beats a hearty breakfast, to change our appearance, mood, or weight. πŸ˜‰


  4. Lucky you! Bohemian Waxwings! They rarely venture far enough south for me to see them. I would have also guessed Starlings at first, but burr, that is too cold to go outside and find out!


    1. Leslie,

      That was an impromptu, impulsive act. If I’d given it more thought, I probably would have just stayed indoor and watched from my window from afar. But then, I wouldn’t have seen all the beauty available so abundantly. πŸ˜‰


      1. Very true, and I’m going to remember that the next time I lack motivation to get up and move. They are such gorgeous birds it would have been a shame to miss them.


    1. Ginny,

      I’m glad you’ve followed the ‘story’ as well as the photos. Yes, I’d like to intro. the ‘Bohemian Sunrise’ experience just as I saw it. Glad you like it. πŸ˜‰


  5. Oh, lucky you. It will be another month or more before we see the Cedar Waxwings. I’m so glad you got out and about – these are wonderful photos. My favorites are the ones where the golden trees contrast with the gray of the birds, and the single bird with the berry in its beak.

    Getting out and about, even when the conditions aren’t perfect, is part of it, isn’t it? Remember what Woody Allen said? “Eighty per cent of success is showing up.” I’m not exactly lazy, but I can be so easily tempted toward letting this or that slide because it seems like it might be – uncomfortable. You know. Like a cold late autumn morning. Thanks for taking it on for us!


    1. Linda,

      I took these photos a week or two ago. Now, today, as well as tomorrow, we’re having heavy blowing snow. So that’s no fun to get out. I’d always go back to these photos to warm up.

      And, thanks for your eloquent comment, and for reminding me of the key to success according to Woody Allen. I love that tidbit… that’s why I try to get out of bed every morning. πŸ˜‰


  6. Oh, how I love to watch the flocking of starlings … that sudden swoop and burst of flight! Gorgeous! And cedar waxwings are just such striking birds to look at … those kohl stripes around the eyes are so dramatic!


    1. Susan,

      Actually those were Bohemian Waxwings. And I’m glad I could have that chance to see them so early in the morning, hence, the beautiful colors. Thanks for stopping by the pond here at Ripple Effects and throwing in your two pebbles. πŸ˜‰


    1. Louise,

      Thanks. I was pleasantly surprised too, cause when I was just snapping away, I really didn’t know how they would turn out. They were too fast for me to check my work.


  7. Oh, my! I’m so glad you stayed through sunrise to see the color change! As always, these are simply magnificent. At first, simply a series of polka dots on branches and then glorious creatures, as lovely as their Cedar cousins. Splendid in every way!


    1. Jeanie,

      Yes, I’m glad I did too… didn’t realize it was -13C until I finished taking my photos. So, just wondering… does that mean ‘cold’ is merely a subjective sensation? πŸ˜‰


  8. Bohemian Waxwings has to be one of the best bird names ever. And these are gorgeous photos, Arti. I don’t know how you’ve managed to capture the quality of the light so well – it’s glorious.


    1. I totally agree with you about that name. At first, I thought I’d name the title of this post: “Bohemian Sunrise”. But then I’d have given it away before coming to the sunrise pics. πŸ˜‰


    1. Alison,

      Since you’re in a much warmer land than I’m, it should be much easier to step outdoor. I’ve enjoyed your photos of your family sojourn. BTW, thanks for linking to your Advent Readings post. πŸ˜‰


  9. This is such a delightful series of photos, Arti! Truly a treat for the eyes. I love the golden glow of that sun on feathers. And the drift of the birds as they left the tree — what a moment!


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