Saturday, February 06, 2016


Male Norther Harrier
Keeping a list, and trying to expand it each year, of all the birds we see on the farm means looking constantly for year birds. This month has pretty much been a desert in that respect. We got the eagle the other day, but that's about it.

What with on thing and another, mostly foul weather, and ice, and mud, I haven't been able to get out and walk pursuit much this year.

However, today was perfect. Cold enough so there was no mud. No wind. Lovely frost flowers everywhere.

I started up through the heifer pasture.

Cardinals followed. Only one or two come into the feeders, but there were many out in the woods. A dozen? More? A lot anyhow. They trailed along behind me all the way from the buildings behind the house to the farthest corner of the Heifer Pasture.

Once there I crawled under the fence, no mean feat, but I could trust the electric fence not to bite me, because the deer had torn it all down. Big job there come spring. As soon as I ventured into the open hay fields the birds all stayed behind.

All the way up through the heifer pasture I looked for year birds. I think I saw and heard a pair of Bluebirds, but they just wouldn't let me see them well enough to be sure. I wasn't disappointed was amazing to be out on the land.

A little corner where the Savannah Sparrows and Bobolinks love to nest

By the time I made it to the 30-Acre Lot I was ready to sit down, and the tongue of the blue hay wagon was perfectly positioned for same. The metal was cold, but the peace was profoundly pleasant and more than made up for it.

See him there in the left hand corner?

I stayed there...and stayed....and stayed....watching geese fly over, listening to crows, just soaking up the alone of it all.

Then, a flash, white, like a car in the distance, only it was over the brush in the 60-Acre Lot. No cars there.

I trained the binoculars on the field, but nothing appeared.

Suddenly, over the very field where I perched out of sight on the wagon tongue, flew a wonderful year bird. A male Northern Harrier. He obligingly tilted and teetered back and forth across the grass with crows screaming all around. It took a while but I finally got him in the viewfinder.

And then he vanished. I took down the binoculars and there he was. He had landed right in the field. I watched and watched until he finally flew and then walked on down from the fields, full of the delight of such an exciting bird, and the water burbling under the ice everywhere, and all the peace and interest of outside.

Back at the house I was training the camera on a Carolina Wren that was singing from the Winesap Apple tree...and right over my head, flying low and loud, came a Common Raven....year bird number two in just one walk. How cool is that? 


Linda said...

You've inspired me to keep a list. So far I've got SnowyOwls, Engish Sparrows, Magpies, Pidgeons and Crows.

Anonymous said...

YIPPIE I AM BACK ON your LIST of LOST SHEEP here..WHOO HOOOO loved the post on the bird, My what fun you must have knowing the different glorious calls. Why I do not know how many are this far North, but will start paying more attentiont!!! I was just going to email you to find out how I can get back in favor of the Computer ,,,,ha hah and get your emails, and wow before I ask it is here. THANK YOU !!! I have missed you all . Much has happened here too as I am moved to a new location and birds are plentiful here. ha ha Love to you all and thank you for finding me again!!!! Love Merri

Terry and Linda said...

I wish we were melting...even warm enough to melt would be lovely!


Cathy said...

Where have you ever seen these word pearls strung along in the same sentence in perfect harmony?
"The metal was cold, but the peace was profoundly pleasant . . "
As was this essay. Profoundly pleasant.

threecollie said...

Linda, awesome birds! I would give a lot for a Snowy Owl

merri, I am delighted that it is finally resolved! It wasn't anything I did, but it sure is good that it's fixed. Welcome back.

Linda, it is the strangest weather here. but nice....

Cathy, thank you!