Eye To The Future

Observing feathered  behavior is a favorite pasttime, particularly when one individual becomes part of my landscape, part of my family.

My girl’s nest building was furtive, unnoticed. But her alarm routine while I gardened prompted a determined hunt ending at a low growing pine, her nest just above eye level.  Gleefully I imagined the clutch she was protecting, and anticipated the addition of nestling peeps to our spring bird symphony.

I sat at my desk Friday, the clatter of the keyboard drowned out by alarm cries. I was driven to such distraction that I left my desk and walked out on the front porch. At least a dozen robins were participating in a flock alarm pattern, alternately swooping through the air, diving toward the ground or calling from a nearby maple.  Perched at the top of the six foot pine was a Red-tailed Hawk, leering into the shrub’s branches.  At my nest.

AT MY NEST!!!

I joined the flock alarm, clapping my hands and shouting “HEY!!!”  My herding dog turned his eye on the raptor and added his command.  With great deliberation the hawk looked down, then around, then slowly spread her wings to a lazy lift off.  Atop my neighbors hemlock, twenty-four inches of taloned feathers observed our interspecies team for another minute before abandoning the project all together.

A short while later I held a compact mirror above the nest to glimpse the raptor’s intended prize–four blind, down-covered nestlings.  Several hours passed before I checked one more time on my nest, only to be met by a mother’s stern gaze.  We both have our eye on the future.

Project 52, May 24, 1014. American Robin on nest, clutch of four, young hatchlings, downy, blind.  No eggs observed.

Project 52, May 24, 1014.
American Robin on nest, clutch of four, young hatchlings, downy, blind. No eggs observed.

Shooting Spring

Spring has finally settled in here in the Appalachain plateau of northeastern Pennsylvania.  The Daffodils are drying their flowers, the Oak’s leaves are hiding its fruits, and the Alum are shooting up their petaled orbs.  

Alum Orb

Week In Review

Spring is here, I just have to be willing to look in odd places, willing to see the promise of unlikely signs.  Click on the image to open in a full-size carousel, from which you can browse each photograph.  Enjoy!

Hope By The Drop

Spring opens with a drop of hope...

Spring opens with a drop of hope…

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The River Is Floe-ing. Spring Is Coming.

Fort Jenkins Bridge Camera and binoculars bounce on my vest-padded chest as I leave footprints in week old snow.  I am headed to the river, to watch the ice floes flow.  Here at the bend, where West Pittston says hey to Pittston, the Susqhehanna is open, ice clinging in nooks and crannies.  A dozen Buffleheads ride the current toward Wilkes-Barre. Common Merganser and Mallard pairs gather to preen or forage where the river meets beach.  A lone Bufflehead floats mid-river, his glossy black-green head turning slowly right and left. Suddenly he tips tail to sky, and plunges beneath the icy water, with barely a ripple. I take slow, deep breaths, and smell what these birds know.

Down RiverWinter is leaving.  

Spring is coming.  

We have more mud than snow, more current than ice.  Insects are hatching, snails are moving, mussles are available, fish swim closer to the surface.  Life is on the move.  

The ice is floe-ing on.

Ice floe-ing