The colorful and loquacious Bohemian waxwings are here as usual in the Anchorage area winging about in large flocks foraging for food. If you happen to be close by as they descend on an opportune mountain ash tree with clusters of hanging red berries you’ll also be enveloped in their incessant communal chattering. They seldom seem to stay in one place very long, moving frenetically from one berry bunch to another, and any sudden noise or movement will spook the whole flock.
There’s a slight twist to the available pickings this year. Southcentral Alaska saw freezing temperatures and snow in late September, before many of the mountain ash had dropped their leaves, and about half the trees around town are still covered with dead brown foliage. The berries are there of course and the birds still come to feed, but it’s a little harder to observe their activity.