Cedar Waxwing, Santee, California, USA by Cindy Croissant

Picture Story

Every winter we eagerly await the arrival of the Cedar Waxwings in San Diego, California. They arrive in December when the pyracantha berries are beginning to ripen (one of their many favorite fruits). They stay only for a short time, then move on. Once place they visit each year is Santee Lakes, in Santee, California, just a few miles East of San Diego. Santee Lakes is a great place to photograph birds of all kinds as they have approximately 230 species that make the area their home, or pass through annually to avoid the cold. In December, as the berries ripen, photographers will bring their lawn chairs and camp out for the day waiting to see these magnificent birds devour the berries. They arrive in large groups (called an “ear-full” or a “Museum”) and are very polite. Instead of all grabbing all the berries they can, looking out only for themselves, they eat in shifts. One group will eat first and then move out of the way for the next group to come in. When they arrive, it is a photographing bonanza, with everyone trying to get the perfect pictures. It lasts a few minutes, then they are gone. Back to waiting until the next group arrives.

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