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Archive for the ‘birds’ Category

SpringTreeBlossomsI would tell you that “two way streets are two way streets”, in a way more meaningful than “Brexit means Brexit” or “OATH-with-a-blue-colon says away more about that merger than anyone should admit in polite company.”

I would tell you that the sunrise has shifted northwards, such that the glare can still wake me, but I don’t get any of the lovely gold-red glow to go with my insomnia and the boisterous dawn chorus of [possibly tasty] wrens, titmice, and robins.

I would tell you that taxes are preferable to death, at least so long as the arts and sciences still get funding.Purple croci pair.jpg

I would tell you tulips, and daffodils, and finally, blessedly, honeybees and carpenter bees; crinkled green leaves on the raspberry canes and tongue-colored fists of peony leaves punching up at the sky.

I would tell you that I wish people would say plainly what they want other people to know, but I have this fondness for truth, so we might need to edit that wish a bit, depending on who is doing the speaking at any given time.

TulipContortion.jpg

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There’s huffing and puffing and yet…

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I have seen birds darting about, gathering food.  I have heard wrens singing in the morning. I know that seeds wait until the time is right to sprout. I know even if there is rain, there will be scientists marching in April.

 

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Spring Singer alerted me to the emergence of this year’s first crop of jousting carpenter bees [Xylocopus] in regional gardens.  This afternoon they are bumbling in and around the magnolia blossoms and riding the willow catkins, which bow under their weight in the March breezes.

First-Xylocopus-Spring-2016

At least, around here, at the moment, those are ‘breezes’.  I understand Colorado got a blizzard, and sections of the Northeast got a recent blast of snow.

Big bees, little bees; it’s been a good day for watching wildlife in the warming weather.  A wood thrush poked around in the leaf litter by the back fence.  White throated sparrows haven’t disappeared yet, and the downy woodpeckers are tap tap tapping to see what might be waking up under loose bark.  Cardinals, blue jays, song sparrows…. Squirrels, rabbits, and oh, I hope that was something other than a rat — aren’t those supposed to be nocturnal?  Couldn’t it be a stoat, or something more pleasant, with a brown agouti coat and bright black eyes?

We’ll see.

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[with apologies to Gilchrist’s SSAA arrangement of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Bells”, available here]

In the early morning light, hear the wrens…
I am sure they take delight
In the metal that they bend

To stake out their territories
They must warble, they must boast
While the humans trying to sleep all dream
Of having them on toast!

How they kvell kvell kvell!
It’s a special kind of hell!
Oh the tintinabulation of the Troglodytidae Nation
It’s the wrens wrens wrens wrens
Wrens wrens wrens wrens wrens!

Google-WrenBar1

Courtesy of Google image search; all photo copyrights assuredly belong to other people. The wrens are suspicious of the whole arrangement.

Even in the dimming light, hear the wrens
They’re an auditory blight
And it never seems to end

They are perky, they are chipper,
They can keep this up all night!
They are tiny feathered creatures who
Cannot afford to fight

So they yell yell yell!
It’s a special kind of hell!
Oh the tintinabulation of the Troglodytidae Nation
It’s the wrens wrens wrens wrens
Wrens wrens wrens wrens WRENS!

wrens-scolding-KOP

This image of wrens is my responsibility. The wrens may or may not believe I have taken that seriously enough….

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SparrowSnowAngel1-web

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PrimeHookNWR-waterclouds 001Cool breezes off the water, egrets foraging and roosting, and most of the humans are still crowding the other sections of the sandbar.  A short hike at the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge was just what we needed yesterday! [Well, that and getting fresh peaches, and looking at Victorian architecture, and that salsa-free guacamole at Agave Tequila Bar and Restaurant, and…]

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At the end of the Dike Trail, a few people seemed to be fishing, or at least scooping things out with nets, and nearby one of the boats shifting sand for the Marsh Restoration project was operating.

Anyone want to confirm the bird here as either a Least Bittern or a Kingfisher?  The former is predictable for the area, but the latter is what it looked like to us.

PrimeHookNWR-BitternOrKingfisher 003Egrets, we had a few….

PrimeHookNWR-MarshEgrets 004There were at least four species of butterflies [monarch, pipevine and black swallowtails, buckeyes], and plenty of dragonflies [including a lovely big bronze one with saddlebags], but I only got this shot of a big green dragonfly for my efforts…

PrimeHookNWR-GreenDragonfly 005

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I just harvested my first golden raspberries this weekend [they did not last long enough for pictures; Word and I devoured them right promptly], and there’s been some speculation about whether or not these are anything like the cloudberries my grandmother talked about gathering as a child in Norway. That’s not a question I can ask her anytime soon, and I have no absolute convictions about whether the departed can look across the veil to see what we’re up to here. BrightCloudEdgeBut if they could, I would hope that the Meadow looked welcoming; that they’d look past the overgrown hedges and be understanding about the incredible amount of rain that’s been making mowing impossible. HighSummerFlowersLook over this way: I’ve edged most of the perennial beds with bricks.  Look over there: the daylilies have started and the monarda is looking fine.  We’d like a patio over here, with space for a grill or firepit.  Maybe put a little pond over in this section, with a motorized spring to keep the bugs under control, and ceramic koi on clever little sticks… BrickEdgedBedsDragonflies dart here. Hummingbirds and hawkmoths know to stop by.  In the winter, the hop-pop birdies scratch around for all the aster seeds.  This year’s asters haven’t started yet, but I can see the buds starting to set…. These are the signals I send, to say ‘One of our kind lives here.’ ‘Times have changed, but not so much.”  “Hello!  I remember!” This is how I leave the light on, just in case….

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Postage-Stamp-Cardinal

Scan-1927-O-Cedar-Ad-16045246I assume you can sort this out.  If it was a rebus, I guess my message would be “Spring Cleaning is for the Birds”?  Maybe?  It’s a lovely day.  [Well, outside children are screaming, but that’s just the nursery school at recess]

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That’s what the Great Blue Heron here was doing a moment or two before I got my camera out.  I’d really not thought I’d get a chance to snap any pictures at all, because so often they see you approach and fhwoooph! out go those giant wings and you only get to see the creature leap into the sky, up, up, and away from you.

Left-facing-Heron-winterThere was only a small patch of open water near where the Heron was sitting, and it didn’t seem inclined to go wading out beyond the shoreline.  Can’t blame it; the water might be a little warmer than the air, but it’s still 32 or below [I am guessing that brackish water freezes at a lower temperature, much the way salt water does].

Rain, ice, rain, snow, ice.

Music selection: Slip Slidin’ Away, by Paul Simon

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