Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"I was the shadow of the waxwing slain....."

I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
By the false azure in the windowpane








I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
By the false azure in the windowpane;
I was the smudge of ashen fluff--and I
Lived on, flew on, in the reflected sky.

             Flying into the azure reflection of the sky and so transcending 
                   the finality of the Waxwings catastrophic end... These lines colored 
        for me my first reading of Nabokov's novel "Pale Fire" many 
      years ago and do so now again. Back then I didn't know a 
waxwing or seen one, but the name spoke to me
 of wild birds  in wild woods. 

  For a short spell they have come south for a visit, the 
          Cedar and the Bohemian Waxwings, having probably grazed 
             clean every fruit tree north of here and have settled on some 
                ornamental crab apple trees at the side of a busy thoroughfare, 
           but just for a day because the next morning the trees were 
                  empty and the birds gone.                  








They were picking the last of the dropped fruit from the pavement







Happy Birding! Happy Spring!

64 comments:

  1. some of the most handsome birds, i believe! :)

    (did you know you have word verification enabled? just thought i'd mention it in case you didn't realize it was there.)

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    1. Thanks, Theresa. I found out I can't turn word verification off - some bug in the comment form. Each time I check the "no" box it reverts to "yes". The bug has been reported by numerous other bloggers.

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  2. I agree with TexWisGirl, beautiful birds and you got many beautiful shots! Enjoyed your pictures very much!

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  3. Oh they are just gorgeous! Terrific shots!

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  4. Beautiful!! Happy to see you back. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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    1. Thanks, Gary. I was hibernating, but now spring is coming!

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  5. A wonderful bird we had visiting in thousands during our cold winter in 2010/11 but not a one during this mild winter...
    I hope all's well Hilke hugs Drew xx

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    1. Re: the swing bridge in my little town. It is on a floating pontoon and swings anti-clockwise.
      I have discovered a lovely Youtube clip made by a former resident from Australia who has made a working model.. I just have to share it soon.

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  6. Thanks, Drew. It was good to take a break, but now I am back, though won't be as frequent as before.

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  7. Among my all-time favorite birds. Thanks for sharing, Hilke.

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  8. Great photos. Nice to see the birds so close.

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  9. They are such beautiful birds. Your photos are wonderful!!

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  10. Lovely birds!
    In Norway we call them "sidensvans" - "silk-tail"!
    Happy WBW to you!

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    1. Thank you, Hans. In German they are also called "Seidenschwanz" same a silk tail.

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  11. Fantastic photos of the beautiful waxvings!

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  12. They are gorgeous birds, Hilke! Your photos are wonderful.

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  13. Great photos! I love waxwings. I never would have guessed that there was waxwing poetry out there.

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  14. What beautiful photos! Your photography of waxwings is poetry in itself! Thank you!

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  15. Great poem and photos to go with.. Guess they stripped your berry tree...
    I was wondering what you use for your comment system...I like the way it works.

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    1. Love these birds! Your photos really capture their sublime beauty and personality. Great stuff!

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    2. Thank you, Dawn and Lawrence.
      Re comments, go to Settings, then Comment Location "embedded" I think that does it.

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  16. simply the best .. photos; well done!

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  17. What a wonderful verse to accompany your splendid pictures. I love visitations like these, waxwings are certainly other worldly as they come and go so unexpectedly.
    It's wonderful to have you back on the blog Hilke!

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    1. Thank you, Springman. I needed to take that break, but will limit my number of posts in the future.

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  18. Touching prose and wonderful photos!!! Waxwings are exotic "native" birds...to me.:)

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  19. Just gorgeous! Your photos almost look like paintings. Love the colors!

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  20. I still find it hard to believe you get birds like this in your garden! WOW!

    Life and limb may be a bit over the top, but who can resist a bit of artistic licence!

    Stewart M - Australia

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    1. Thank you, Stewart. Well, I am glad you managed to get those shots!

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  21. Hi Hilke

    Great to see you return to posting with the spring birds and flowers. The quote and photos are wonderful.

    Guy

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  22. OUtstanding, Hilke! And, I love the opener lines. Most powerful. I've not seen many waxwings this winter. The few I did see were in lousy light. Your good light in these images I admire. Wonderful post. Now, on to spring and warblers...........I still have a couple of Pine siskins around, which is odd for so late into spring and in the context of virtually none this winter. Curious birding year, certainly.

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    1. Thank you, Robin. If it weren't for a local birder with a great eye for spotting birds, and reporting his find on VTBIRD list, I would have never seen these. Initially they were quite dark against the light sky and it took a lot of work on Photoshop to lighten them up, increase saturation and remove noise. The birds around my feeder this winter were just the usual suspects. Happy spring!

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  23. Happy spring, Hilke! Beautiful photos!

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    1. Thank you. Happy spring to you too, joo

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  24. Great shots! They are such beautiful birds.

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  25. ...loved this post, Hilke! The writing and the photos. The first two shots are really interesting. The eyes seem to be locked on the viewer!

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    1. Yes, the eyes! Thanks, Kelly! In the third shot the bird focusing on a piece of fruit. I remember seeing the same happy wide-eyed expression on people's faces in a restaurant as the waiter brings plates of food.

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  26. They are gorgeous! Uncommon sightings for me. How excited I would be to see so many at once!

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  27. Hilke, what beautiful and tragic lines! Your photos go so well with them and vice versa. I have yet to see a Bohemian Waxwing and have not seen a Cedar Waxwing since last year sometime. Thank you for your kind comment on my blog!

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  28. Grrrrrr... Terribly jealous. looks like I'll have to wait for the next winter to see the waxwings ;-) Beautiful set of pictures, I love the group shots a lot

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  29. Greetings from Oman!!!

    Great captures.

    Shantana

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  30. Fantastic photographs. I am greeting

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