Date: 12/23/17 12:48 pm From: Joseph C. Neal <joeneal...> Subject: Snowbirds on a snowy day in the Ozarks
Last night’s cold front came in with a light snow. Also with a fresh batch of snowbirds, aka, Dark-eyed Juncos, at least at Indian Creek Park near Beaver Lake dam. Waterfowl were sparse on the lake. The park was empty of people except for me, and full of Eastern Bluebirds, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Cedar Waxwings, and Dark-eyed Juncos. Open ground under the old cedars has a fine mat of native Poverty Grass just right for juncos. I slow-rolled into one camping spot to watch the action.
Of course they are officially Dark-eyed Juncos, but they originate from many places north of here. Their plumages reflect the time when we considered them as separate species. Several with striking black hoods and reddish backs would be a good fit for Oregon Junco. At least one bird with a pale gray hood and pink flanks must conserve genetic heritage of Pink-sided Juncos. The Slate-colored Juncos were well represented by birds whose dark hoods and flanks showed little or no separation.
I was fairly deep into junco biogeorgraphy when a flock of Cedar Waxwings swept into the cedars, then down into a pool of water for a bath. It is remarkable to see such a colorful bird flop down full body into water, then splash wildly, slinging water everywhere – a whirl of the brilliant colors that makes a waxwing, especially on a snowy day full of colorful juncos.