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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Blizzards that didn't visit and birds that did

Yesterday we had snow flurries. For a while, big flakes fell steadily and it looked as though we might actually get some accumulation.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on  how much you love or hate snow,  it didn't happen, and our blizzard was  very short lived.
Having seen  today  how much snow some parts of the  Northeast got and the trouble it has caused with   traffic accidents, stranded motorists, and  massive power outages, I am very thankful it passed us by! We don't do snow well in central Alabama.  People here don't know how to drive in snow, most of us don't have snow tires and would have no idea how to put chains on tires if we had them. We don't have snowplows or other  equipment  necessary for keeping the roads cleared, and we invariably lose power when lines break under the weight of  snow and ice. Consequently, schools  dismiss at the first sign of a snowflake and  grocery stores immediately sell out of milk, bread and toilet paper.  

Even though we didn't get the snow,  it was  bitterly cold today and we  watched the birds make steady trips to the  feeders, eating enough to build  up the fat reserves that enable them to survive the cold winter nights.

While we were watching the cardinals, sparrows, finches, doves and other birds, we  noticed that the magnolia tree  close by seemed to have more pods than we remembered it having earlier in the week. We  looked again through the binoculars and saw that what we thought were pods, was actually a group of  cedar waxwings  who were neatly camouflaged   among the magnolia leaves. We had just   mentioned a few days ago that we hadn't seen any  waxwings this year and wondered what had happened to them. Turns out they've probably been hiding in plain sight all along!  We were afraid if we opened the storm door to take a photo we'd spook them, causing them fly off.  I don't have a  powerful  zoom lens on my camera but did manage to get this somewhat fuzzy shot shooting through the  storm door.  If you look closely you can see five cedar waxwings pretending to be magnolia pods.  Masters of  disguise they are!  They are also  most likely the reason we haven't seen  many red berries poking out of the pods this year. Magnolia seeds  I don't mind sharing with them; I just hope they don't decide to  eat all the berries off the dogwood tree, leaving us bereft of blossoms come spring.

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