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Photograph of the Week

Cedar waxwing, Lake Valley

by Debora Nicoll | March 15, 2021
Photograph by Debora Nicoll copyright © 2021

Cedar waxwings are common winter residents throughout New Mexico. But the photographer had never before seen this handsome bird in her yard in the decade she has lived in Lake Valley. When a flock of about 10 waxwings showed up at her property last week, searching for berries or the small blueberry-like cones of cedar that they especially love, one perched in a budding mulberry tree just long enough to be photographed.

This crystal-clear portrait looks as if it had been set up in a studio, so perfectly does the sky serve as a seamless, contrasting backdrop and the branches frame the subject. It is all the more remarkable that this is actually a grab shot, made with a point-and-shoot camera equipped a zoom lens.

The portrait is worthy of inclusion in a field guide. Except for the red, waxy-looking wing tips that give the bird its name, the photograph captures all the other identifying marks—the sleek gray-brown body, light yellow belly, bandit mask, pointed crest and bright yellow tail tip—that make the waxwing so endearing.

—Commentary by Tom Hinson, editor, Photograph of the Week

Editor’s Note: Click on the photograph to view it in a light box for even greater clarity.

Professional, amateur and phone-camera photographers alike are invited to submit images to the Sierra County Sun for possible publication in the Sun’s “Photograph of the Week” feature. The deadline for consideration is every Friday at 5 p.m. For further information, click on the Help Us Report button on our home page and then check the box labeled “I want to submit a photo to Photograph of the Week.”

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