The late afternoon of the July 4th holiday featured many fledglings in the Rachael Carson National Wildlife Refuge on Hoyt Neck, Maine. Cedar Waxwings were everywhere it seemed, feeding their young and chasing off other birds who got too close.
These lovely birds allowed many photographs to be taken as long as the waning light of the sun allowed.
The beautiful Cedar Waxwing can be seen in most of the U.S. and southern Canada. It stands about 7” high. They sport a black mask, have a brown crest and shoulders, and a bright yellow-tipped tail and pale yellow belly. Adult birds have a small red spot on their wings.
Another bird seen frequently on our trips to the marsh is the Eastern Kingbird.
The Eastern Kingbird commonly perches on fences and on telephone wires, where, in typical flycatcher fashion, it placidly awaits the passing of an insect, which, with superb deftness, it captures on the wing. Many kinds of birds have white outer tail feathers, but the Eastern Kingbird is almost unique among passerines in having a broad white band across the end of the tail. Otherwise it is blackish above and white below, with a concealed orange crown patch that is not seen except when the bird is in hand.
As luck would have it, we came across a Willet with four chicks. It is comical to watch the chicks stumble around looking for food. The mother Willet keeps an eye out from a distance, ready to strike at any predator that gets close.
Willets are very territorial and will aggressively defend their nesting and feeding territory. The willet is a very noisy bird and will call out with a pill-will-willet pill-will-willet when disturbed. It will fly overhead and and continue calling out until the threat goes away. It often perches on bushes, trees, fenceposts, or rocks.
There is much more to report, but that will come later, as we are about to embark on yet another birding trip.
What makes it all worth while is the beauty and complexity of nature herself, as seen in this photo of sunset over the marsh.