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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Checking these Twice


Fledgling Northern Cardinal
brought into the feeder by dad yesterday

Fall migration is moving forward...and so are the birds...only southward. 

Because of this I check the Cornell resources below fairly frequently to see what might be passing through our area and when. My personal exciting finds do not always coincide with peak migration nights, but often they do.

Yesterday, or really this morning, I got a nice surprise when I reported a Nashville Warbler. They show up around here fairly often, but I was still happy to spot it in a small mixed flock of warblers over on the land bridge between the cow barn and the house yesterday afternoon. However, I had no idea that it was the first one reported in the county for the year until this morning when I checked the county eBird page.

Cool! Now to find a Canada Warbler. I have only ever seen a fleeting view of one, which I didn't report as it was indeed only seen for about half a second, and not very well. Necklace on breast is diagnostic but...

Swainson's Thrush in the Honey Locust

Anyhow, linky, links:

Migration forecast for home.

Migration forecast for the whole country

Who's flying when

Our county top 100 page

Right now I am just waiting for the sun to come up. When it does I will dry the dew off the lawn chair by the car with the good view of the old honey locust and the Winesap apple, and a partial view of the nearly dead blue spruce. I will park my butt there for a while and look up, usually getting a nice case of warbler neck.

Those three trees catch a lot of the insectivore traffic most mornings though so.... 

After I watch them for a while, if things get quiet, I will walk over to the the barn and maybe up the hill a bit, and then down the driveway. I think there is a rough average of around 26 species or so most mornings, with good days yielding over 30. 

The cow barnyard and the cluster of weeds down by the heifer yard gate are good for sparrows. Right now that is mostly Song Sparrows with a few Field Sparrows (cutest little things you ever saw) thrown in, but later you never know what you might see. I check there almost every day.

Sky's getting white in the East. It won't be long now.

Common Yellowthroat in the yard

Monday, September 19, 2022

Your Dog


This is NOT the bird, I am sparing your

You know how she's been rolling on the lawn under the clothesline? And how she smells worse than...well, I can't come up with anything bad enough to describe how she smells...even Dad complained? Yeah, that particular mystery is solved.

I took her out at half light this morning before anyone else was up....while you were sleeping so to speak. She took care of bidness and then went for a nice roll over in her usual location. I let her because if she is rolling she isn't running away on me and besides the grass has been combing out a lot of the excess hair she would normally shed in the kitchen to be tracked all through the house.

Then I called her in so I could brew a magic elixir of morning for myself...Even weak coffee is better than none.

Plop. She dropped a treasure right at my feet.

It was a dead bird. A very, very, very, very, very dead bird, so far gone as to only be recognizable by the beak that adorned a blackish, reeking, disgusting blob. Nicely soaked by the rain too.

With paper towel in hand...after she tried to steal it from me a couple of times...I conveyed it to the barnyard...cow barnyard...and disposed of it there. I don't know if I will ever be able to wash my hands enough to feel clean, despite the paper towel.

She looked at me accusingly when I came back and then demanded that I throw the ball for her.

I politely declined while I washed the kitchen floor in the places where she had dropped it.

Just so you know....

Saturday, September 17, 2022

I thought


It would get better...easier somehow.
It hasn't.

The gnawing feeling of something missing has instead gone deeper and become so much more complex.

Today would have been my mother's 89th birthday. She left us just under two years ago.

I still miss her.

Alice the Wonder Woman.

I miss Dad too, but daughters, and sons too, seem to have a special connection with their mamas. As I get older and life becomes ever more challenging, I miss her amazing wisdom more and more. Things happen and my mind wants to run them by her, hear her thoughts, learn from her knowledge and understanding of life. We talked almost every day for the vast majority of my entire life. 68 years worth. The conversations in my head are not the same, nor is singing to her picture on the kitchen wall. (We shared the tragic inability to sing on key, along with the sheer joy of doing it anyhow.)

All I can do these days is my own personal best but I am not a lot like her. She was bold and strong and sassy, but joyful with it. She was always delighted with life and babies and fun, and so darned loving to us all, especially Dad, but all of us. I am quieter, more introverted, a worrier to the point of inertia. Not only did she get things done, she got me to get things done too.

Life is shallower without her, duller, less rounded and well-formed. I thought it would get better.

But it didn't. I miss you, Mama.

Friday, September 16, 2022

If You See


This guy...at the races tonight, in the grocery store where he does the shopping so I don't have to people, or parked along some desolate back road, listening to talk radio while I look for good birds....wish him a Happy Birthday if you would. I hope he has a great day!

We farmed together for somewhere over 30 years and are still good friends, which is a true accomplishment, as those who have tried it know. Never stopped enjoying talking together in all those years. He taught me 99 percent of everything I know about breeding and judging dairy cattle and I still get excited if I see a good 'un on some Facebook dairy page. I sure loved 'em when we had 'em.

Now that we don't have them (and couldn't even if we tried) he is always willing to drop everything and take off in hot pursuit of whatever rarity has been spotted within our limited driving distance, or to just head out for a ramble. Yesterday he drove me up to Cline Road Marsh, where I had a spectacular time finding rarities and soaking up the haunting beauty of the singing swamp, while he slept, uncomplaining, in the car.

Speaking of good 'uns...he is one of them.

Happy Birthday, handsome. Becky is making you those amazing waffles tonight before the races...just so you know. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The Wind Beneath your Wings


Makes a breeze upon my knees.

You hang before my eyes

As if checking me for size.

Attack or eat

That is the question

Slow to make up your mind, you come back several times,

But in the end nectar wins out over the revenge of the dinosaurs. Off you prance to sit on the red feeder, sipping and glaring at me.

Or at your own reflection in my glasses, whichever comes first.

(The hummingbirds are extra bold and funny this year. The one below hovered about ten inches from my face for the longest time and came back repeatedly to check me out. I think the same bird is involved in a lot of the confrontations I am seeing around the place. Bravest one I've ever seen and that is saying something.

Maybe our current yard birds are young-of-the-year with more chutzpah than common sense.)

A Black-capped Chickadee rests on the string on the porch, placed there for hanging of plants and birdy convenience. You whir and buzz and poke and pester until he gives up and flies away.

You fluffle your feathers, flounce a bit, and take his spot quite smugly.

A Monarch butterfly drifts over the mulberry tree just at dusk yesterday. Out you boil, stab, stick, and scuttle. The poor thing wings away, but bumbles back.

Off the roost and into the onslaught. Out, out, damned Lepidoptera, begone, begone.

I'm gonna miss you when you be gone, little guy, too darned soon for sure.