the easiest to see field mark differentiating this bird from the cedar waxwing.
Late yesterday afternoon, when the light was starting to fade and I was making my way home from a walk across the fields, I saw a flock of birds fly overhead. The flight pattern was unusual, somewhat starling like. The flight calls were definitely not starling. They put me in mind of the cedar waxwing, but not much. The birds landed first on the top of a tree a field away--swirled to another, then out of sight. I stood and watched for a while--these were the first birds I'd seen on the walk aside from the ubiquitous chickadee, and I didn't want to go home without finding out what they were. A moment or two later they reappeared, flew over me and landed in a small red cedar (Juniperus virginiana--a juniper that grows up, not across) in the scrape (the area of the fields where topsoil is harvested, and near where I stood. I could only see one of them (there were about 15), and I walked slowly up, sighting the bird with my pocket binoculars (not great, but better than nothing) as I walked. I saw the crested profile of a waxwing, so cedar waxwing? But this bird didn't look right, aside from the crest, the profile was wrong--too heavy, too tall. Then I noticed the white markings on the wings. That combined with the flight call suggested that these were Bohemians. I was able to move up enough to see them pretty well--and after the one that stayed visible flew off and landed on a nearby deciduous tree I took the picture above, in spite of the bad light.
When I got home I confirmed the identification, and noticed that the images in the field guides make the cedar and bohemian waxwings look much more alike than they look in life. I suppose if I'd been in a hurry I might have left it at the first sight of the crest and misidentified the bird. But once I got a good look I could see that the bohemian is quite a different bird.