Sunday, March 7, 2010
One Bluebird, Spring Everywhere!
To mangle an old Zen quotation, one bluebird, spring everywhere! seen yesterday at the Preserve.
Sean G. the naturalist who was around yesterday told me a couple of them winter over, even. But this is my first sighting of the year, wonderful sight in the sunlight; this one's a male with the brilliant blue back which you can sort of see.
Yesterday was the first day of gardening at home, too, pulling out old dead foliage and finding the Autumn Joy sedum already has its little green rosettes coming bravely through. I love sedum, which goes and goes, something to show you in all four seasons, just gets on with its life without human intervention at all, my kind of plant. And I started this year's garden journal in one of my libe sale books, the green one with the waterproof cover. Bought a few packets of seeds, too, just in celebration, basil and two kinds of chives.
And, in the spirit of Field and Fen, I used the afternoon that HS was in attendance on HP, to nip over to the Preserve on the first really mild day of the year, temps in the high 40s., to do a bit of nature observation.
First sight was Sean G at the Preserve building, holding a mourning dove in his hands and talking gently to her, the bird's tail whipping up and down, all distressed and breathless. Turns out she'd hit the big window at the building, despite all the decals they have there, because a hawk came zooming around and panicked all the birds at the feeders.
We have sharpshins and Cooper's hawks, both of which prey on other birds and are very active right now. The redwings which also divebomb other birds, earlier in the year, are busy mating now, very much in evidence doing courtship dance circles in the sky, but leaving the other birds alone.
The decals on the Preserve building windows look transparent to humans, but Sean told me they show brilliant blue to birds, as a warning about glass. But when panic sets in all bets are off, and this little guy hit the window and fell. He put her in a sheltered area to recover, and later I stopped back and found she'd gone, so evidently she managed okay.
He showed me bird prints all across the big windows, where birds had hit the glass, and the dust from their wings had imprinted the glass, some places where he showed me an eyeball had hit, ow, and beak outlines. These prints are pretty much not noticeable unless a naturalist points them out in the sunshine, but show up right away once he explains which shapes mean what. Evidently quite a few collisions lately.
I saw a sharpie yesterday, actively hunting. They're wonderful athletes, with long tails they use like a rudder so that they zoom at top speed steering through trees and branches unerringly, terrifying for the small birds scrambling to escape. They're not much bigger than their prey, but a lot more hellbent.
And out on the lake a bunch of common mergansers which I was not able to pic, since they dive at the crucial moment and reappear yards away, out of focus...
But the ice melting from the lake (this lake is hundreds of feet deep, was a quarry), was like a natural watercolor not to be resisted.
And the vernal pond close to the lake.
And the last strip of snow seen across the field, drawing a line under the woods.
Probably not the last of the snow, since we specialize in heartbreaking spring storms with zero temps and massive snowfall just when you thought it was safe, but I'll take the mild weather now, gladly.
And throw in the star formation of clouds from yesterday, too, for cloud collectors.