New dog, new world
The other day, my husband spotted another striking, first-time visitor to our house, a male white-crowned sparrow. One day in rain, the next in sunshine, he stuck to the grass to forage for fallen seed.
According to my slightly outdated North American birds guide, we’re in His Majesty’s winter range. Perhaps he has been dethroned and is migrating northward to a new seat of power. I wonder if he is related to the White King in my Alice novel. Look closely: This fancy little monarch even wears white eyeliner on his lower lids.
He must be French, or maybe Quebecois.
This spring I’ve added a new bird feeder to the party, and there are some new arrivals not before seen, plus others not seen in a while. Some migratory, some residential. Most of the birds that visit seem to prefer the finch seed mix to the black oil sunflower seed, but they are two different brands, so I suppose quality could be a factor. I’ll have to mix the two in both feeders to spread the sights and delights. Happy Earth Day.
American goldfinches are in the process of molting for their brighter seasonal black and yellow. The rosy house finches and house sparrows are as ruthless competitors as ever, northern cardinals have come around now and then in mated pairs, and the docile mourning doves have made themselves at home in the bed below our pagoda dogwood. The American robins continue to dominate, as expected.
Backyard Brief from shots taken March 14, 2017
As much as I pulled the trigger, this lone winter goldfinch graced only my closest third look with true color–which I then enhanced.
My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun - by Emily Dickinson My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun - In Corners - till a Day The Owner passed - identified - And carried Me away - And now We roam in Sovereign Woods - And now We hunt the Doe - And every time I speak for Him The Mountains straight reply -
And do I smile, such cordial light Upon the Valley glow - It is as a Vesuvian face Had let its pleasure through -
And when at Night - Our good Day done - I guard My Master's Head - 'Tis better than the Eider-Duck's Deep Pillow - to have shared -
To foe of His - I'm deadly foe - None stir the second time - On whom I lay a Yellow Eye - Or an emphatic Thumb -
Though I than He - may longer live He longer must - than I - For I have but the power to kill, Without - the power to die -
January 21, 2017
Blessed on a mild, mid-winter Saturday by a close encounter with a great blue heron, we spotted him from the bridge over Tuscarawas Race. We paused at the threshold between the Coventry Oaks and Tuscarawas Meadows areas of Firestone Metropark in Akron, Ohio.
After a vigorous hill walk with views of downtown and a water tower, we came upon deer and dog tracks and droppings at the base of the bare field. Ahead, whispering, my husband called me to the bridge, toward the woods.
Shielded by leafless branches, the gray, reflecting apparition scarcely twitched before us, though our own insides leapt at the sight.
The long and short of it:
Caught fishing, eating the fish, and switching banks to fish some more.
Wading, spying, preening, going about his business, he seemed to get used to us lingering there on the bridge as our crouched legs cramped up. Along with my shoulders and hands, they stiffened as I strained to capture, to hold, to know something I did not yet know.
With better sense, my husband stood before I did, and soon a rowdy family came along the path beside the great blue’s bank.
I finally rose but could not unbend without help; all my leg muscles and joints seemed to rebel as one mob. Grace belonged wholly to the heron.
Thus ended the suspense as it withdrew in silent flight down the race, perching on a stone in the water, perhaps to fish again. Our day was complete, our own next meal an easy catch.
A happy “10 and 30th” birthday to another seeker, indeed. And, with this photo gallery of its signature bird, happy 3rd anniversary to the fledgling pond called Philosofishal.
All images © C. L. Tangenberg
January 18, 2017 – Titmice, chickadees, house finches, and the ubiquitous house sparrow have been competing with squirrels for our backyard fodder. Hubby watched two squirrels crowd the suet feeder, one impatiently waiting for the other to get the bushy tail off.
Of sparrows, mice, chicks, houses, tufts, finches, caps, food, tits and a squirrel-proof feeder –
Happy backyard birding and squirrelling, and remember, brevity is the soul of tit.
P.S. To All Scots, Scotch Descendants, and Lovers of Scotland and Poetry, Happy January 25th. Have an excellent Burns Night supper!
ICYMI: Here’s my post about Burns’ “To a Mouse” poem.