Winter’s Joy

Our winters here in Edmonton can be tough.

The days are short, the nights are long and the temperatures can be down right awful. There’s not a lot to look forward to in the dead of it all and February has a tendency to take its toll on a lot of people. Over the past few years there’s been one event in January/February that I’ve come to really look forward to: the return of the Bohemian waxwings. These beautiful birds come through in great flocks, gobbling up the fermented mountain ash berries from the trees and happily getting day-wasted as they flit through neighbourhoods and parks. Seeing them brings me tremendous joy in these long, dark months.

I’d been eagerly awaiting their return this past January and aside from a few sightings of just a handful of birds, there really hadn’t been a lot of action.

That was, until the morning of February 3rd.

I ventured from the house at 10:30am, on my way to get the tattoo shop ready for the day, and as soon as I opened the door from the house I was greeted with a familiar, high pitched bbbrrrrrrbbb, bbbbrrrrrrbbbbb, bbbrrrbbbb! The waxwings were back! Hundreds of them! And I had to work…

I started the Jeep, lamenting that I had to leave. I looked down the block to the mountain ash trees they were swarming and saw they were bathed in a beautiful, soft winter light. My absolute favourite conditions to photograph waxwings in. “To hell with the shop,” I said to myself! I ran inside and got my camera, adjusted my settings and slowly approached the trees with a giant smile on my face. “I’ll only shoot for fifteen, maybe twenty minutes,” I told myself, “then I’ll head into work.”

45 minutes later my fingers and toes were numb from the -25c windchill and I decided to call it a day. I thanked my waxwing friends as I walked back to the house, my heart so full of joy from the encounter.

I fired over 1400 frames. These are my favourites.

If you’re interested in prints of any of the above images, please send me an email to indicating which you’d like!