The grayness of
evenings clouds envelope, hide
the Gnatcatcher’s movement
Has this scenario ever happened to you. You were a little negligent in getting your hummingbird feeders cleaned, filled, and hung up outside after a long winter? Were the hummingbirds looking at you through your front window with pitiful looks on their little faces? Or in the case with my own hummingbirds, they would hover in the exact location where I’ve hung my feeders for the past several years. One in my front yard tree, another from the eaves of my front porch, and one more hanging from a shepherds hook in my perennial garden, also in my front yard.
So my question is, do they remember where feeders were hung from previous years? And if they were the same pair of hummingbirds that would make sense, however how would one find out if they were the same pair. And if they are different birds how would they know that hummingbird feeders were hanging there at one time?
I would watch (feeling quite guilty by the way) as they hovered either under the tree, or under the eaves looking for my feeders. I never noticed this behavior before since I normally get my feeders up in the early part of April, which is just about right for their arrival in my part of Ohio. It’s usually a male and female who claim my yard as their own, plus the romantic in me want to think it’s the same pair I’ve had for several years. Which would explain why they were looking for their feeders. I felt like a bad owner of a pet dog or cat.
But now their happy, chasing each other around the yard and posing for some photo-ops.
I want to imagine that when I get to heaven that I’ll wake up every morning with a Wood Thrush singing. Of all the bird songs I’ve heard so far in my life nothing is as soothing as their song. In the woods all alone and a Wood thrush sings in the early spring morning. Nothing I can think of can compare to the flute like song that echoes all around you. That’s what it was like as I hiked Boone County Cliffs this past Saturday. Trying to pick out other species to identify while the Wood Thrush keep up their song is quite distracting. But a pleasant distraction.
In the early 1970’s when this stamp was issued in a block of 4 wildlife conservation stamps which included Big Horn Sheep, Fur Seals, and believe it or not the Northern Cardinal, that deadly pesticide DDT was devastating the Brown Pelican population so much that to draw attention to this problem the U.S. Postal service thought it was necessary to issue a commemorative stamp. Now a days if you’ve ever been to Florida you’d never would have thought such a problem existed. These effortless fliers were a sight as I would just stand on the beach and watch as as they glided over the surface of the water.
So on my most recent trip to Florida I made it my project to try to get a photo of a Brown Pelican sitting on a support post of a dock. Your typical Pelican pose. But where do I start this search for this perfect location? Most places on the waterfront are either privately owned or just too difficult to get to. I needed something simple. So it was one evening while at dinner at one of our favorite seafood restaurant when I noticed the Pelicans down by the waterfront and on the docks just 20 yards from the restaurant. Perfect.
After adding up some more species that was collected on my last day in Florida and on the drive home, this is the complete list to date.
59. Eastern Towhee
60. Carolina Chickadee
61. Great Egret
62. Boat-tailed grackle
63. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
64. Orange-crowned Warbler
65. Pileated Woodpecker
66. Eastern Bluebird
67. Ring-necked Duck
68. Red-bellied Woodpecker
Kathy and I took a side trip today to visit Fort Pickens, a Civil War era fort that was built to guard the entrance to Pensacola Bay. It also in the past been one of the spots where White-winged Delves have been seen. So it was a win, win for me since I do love Civil War history, plus an opportunity to tick off a life bird.
The drive down Santa Rosa Island west out of the small town of Navarre was something to behold. It was Florida in the raw. Kind of what you might imagine it was as Spanish explorers first set foot here. Pristine white sand beaches with no buildings or houses. Being a National Seashore really helps as well.
We had a wonderful time at the fort, however not one dove was seen. Not even the more common ones lime Mourning or Eurasian. However I did make it up with the addition of 3 sparrow species.
55. Chipping Sparrow
56. Savannah Sparrow
57. Vesper Sparrow
58. Ring-necked Duck
A very cooperative Savannah Sparrow