“Your head is a living forest full of songbirds.“ — e.e. cummings
We took our first camping trip of the year at the Pawnee National Grasslands. That area is supposed to provide a magnificent night sky and we went in hopes of seeing the meteor shower. Turns out we didn’t put much effort into the sky because the high winds made it unpleasant. So unpleasant, in fact, that we came home a day early.
The good news is, there was a lull in the wind on Thursday evening and we walked the trails around the Crow Valley Campground. The lighting was divine as birds serenaded us. Here’s a Red-winged Blackbird in song:
And here’s an American Robin singing as it perches on the fence next to a couple of the MANY tumbleweeds in the area (which I either leapt over or plowed through when running on the trails the next morning):
Here’s a Western Meadowlark singing its heart out:
This last one–Turkey Vulture– was silent, but it was a thrill when Zippy spotted it because on our maiden voyage last April, a whole bunch of Turkey Vultures roosted above our campervan.
Others may disagree, but I consider a Turkey Vulture sighting a good omen for the coming camping season.
As previously mentioned, I’m having vision issues and haven’t been taking photos because focusing is a real struggle. However, earlier this week I took my camera with me to Standley Lake where I walked with a friend. The day was windy. So windy we got sand in our mouths. So windy, I didn’t want to take time to mess with camera settings. So windy, the gusts buffeted my camera as I took shots. So windy, I didn’t really worry about photo quality. And it shows.
These are American Coots, riding the waves. Standley Lake doesn’t usually have whitecaps, but it did that day.
Here’s a coyote my friend spotted across the lake. We’d kept wondering why the coots chose to stay out in the rougher water rather than sheltering in some cove. Maybe they knew this predator was roaming the shore.
We heard a Western Meadowlark and turned to see this perching bird. A quick snap of the camera before I ducked my head against the wind again. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized it was an American Kestrel.
Lastly, here’s what I believe is a Bald Eagle. This photo is garbage, but I can still remember the thrill of standing there on the sand as it flew directly toward us before veering off over the trees.
All in all, a successful outing. A nice walk-and-talk with my friend, nearly 4.5 miles of walking, and some wildlife sightings. (Not to mention the free microdermabrasion treatment as sand blasted our faces).
Today the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued what is basically its final warning to governments (“it’s now or never” regarding greenhouse gas emissions), and my heart is pounding as I type those words. We the people need to rise up and demand radical action. Unfortunately, here in the U.S. our so-called leadership is actually talking about ramping up fossil fuel production. It’s insanity.
And when reality gets to be too much, I turn to nature. Today, it’s birds. Here’s a Limpkin I had the honor of communing with at Kapok Park in Florida:
Here’s a petite Bushtit outside my Colorado window:
Here’s a Turkey Vulture doing its important clean-up work in Cave Creek Canyon in Arizona:
Finally, here’s a Common Grackle singing its song in Nebraska clover:
And now I’m going to use the energy I’ve borrowed from those wonderful birds and head out for a run on the trails where I’ll drink up more of this glorious world.
We had a corvid-rich weekend. It began on Saturday with lots and lots of crows as we walked around a unfamiliar neighborhood (after Emma was too agitated at sight of other dogs in the park we’d gone to for a walk). Multiple flocks of crows flying overhead then perching in various trees. They brought many smiles.
Then yesterday morning, we were in our front yard when a flock of crows flew past. But that wasn’t all. Moments later, this raven perched in the tree across the street for several minutes, making its croaking sound.
Today is the first day of a new week. My goal is to embody this raven’s energy, looking ahead to new opportunities and experiences. Courageous in the face of whatever life brings.
It’s cold and snowy outside, and toasty-warm in my home. For this, I am grateful. We’ve replenished the various bird feeders and cleaned/refilled the bath for the many feathered visitors doing their best to keep warm and healthy during this latest snowstorm. This Woodhouse’s Scrub Jay visited the feeder last month and maybe has shown up again today. Hello, is that you?
And I’ve seen Dark-eyed Juncos out there today. Perhaps this one is also a return visitor?
Right now, I’m reading-reading-reading a critique partner’s manuscript in preparation for our group’s zoom session this evening. It’s a wonderful story and I’m happy to be part of the process and glad to be connecting with my friends again. And that’s not all. Tomorrow evening, I’ll be on a call with our local Sunrise Movement hub to reboot the group. Two social events in two days!
Okay, just wanted to pop in to say hello again and to say I’ve missed interacting with people here. When I’ve caught my breath after my whirlwind social life, I’ll try to catch up on what I’ve missed. Stay warm! Stay healthy! Remember: March is when we really start gaining daylight! 🌞
February days are a marketing gimmick; love happens every day. ~ Randeep Hooda
Every morning, I open the bedroom window for about fifteen minutes to allow fresh air inside. It feels good to replace the stale with cold and invigorating air that wakes me up both mentally and physically. This morning’s ritual brought an unexpected bonus: a robin’s serenade.
While I never did locate where the robin perched outside, it was delightful to stand at the open window and drink in those lyrical notes. It’s only early February, but for a brief time, spring was in the air.
Our big snowstorm has just begun, tiny flakes drifting from the sky. In preparation, I cleaned the bird bath and replenished the feeders. Soon after, a flock of Bushtits arrived to eat at the peanut feeder, filling my heart with joy. I adore those tiny birds and curse the greedy chickadees that chase them from the food (sometimes while already holding a peanut in their beak). No pics today, but here’s a shot from last fall that I love.
That autumnal dining experience was at a much more comfortable temperature. Currently, it’s just above freezing and the low is forecast at 14 degrees. Stay warm, wee ones.
We woke to a snowstorm this morning (hooray!) and it’s been fun watching the birds. The usual suspects have shown up — Eurasian Collared-dove parked in the feeder dish while a Mourning Dove perched on the rim of the heated bath — along with a visit from a Blue Jay. We do see them now and again, but they are a bit more rare, so it was a nice surprise when I spotted this one through the kitchen window.
Wildebeest and Zebu are coming for a visit and we’ve been spending lots of time cleaning the house that has become quite messy over the past months. “Wash windows” was on my to-do list but that hasn’t happened yet which means my bird photos suffer. This Red-breasted Nuthatch would appear more vibrant had I washed the window as planned.
Ah, well. As long as the glass doesn’t become opaque, I guess it’s okay.
Zippy took this photo and I played with the settings. Not sure he or the crow would appreciate my artistic input, but that’s okay because I very much like the lighting and colors, and what I interpret as a stance both confident and vulnerable.
I can relate to that juxtaposition of attitudes.
Smart and not-so-smart
warms herself on heated rim
then poops in water
Dove both smart and dumb original line too mean & judgmental
These finches (look closely, there are two) offer a good representation for my current emotional and mental state.
Sometimes my feelings are bright, cheery, and upbeat–as they were yesterday while walking in the sunshine with Emma Jean-Jean–and other times my emotions feel more drab and less hopeful, as this morning when tears overwhelmed me during my first yoga session in a while.
The good news is that nature always provides. During that same yoga session, feeders outside the window were visited by a flock of twenty or so wee Bushtits, reminding me of the power of community. Bushtits stick together, chipping and twittering as they forage in a tree and move on to another.
We’re not alone in this difficult reality and I’m grateful for my communities, including this one here.
One-eyed steely gaze
probes the corners of my soul
guess who’s first to blink
Today’s reminder for anyone who needs it: show up as yourself. You are magnificent, warts and all! (Or, in this pelican’s case, bumps that form on the bill during breeding season.)
Remember, when you show up as your magnificent, authentic self, you’ll find your squadron.
Shout-out to all who’ve engaged and connected with me in real life and an online capacity: thank you! ❤️
Reflexes too slow
twittering bushtit flew off
silence in its wake
If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows. ~ Henry Ward Beecher
Unfortunately, that also goes for many women. I don’t see crows mucking up things and then gaslighting everyone into thinking stuff’s just dandy. That’s purely the province of rich and powerful men/women.
While many are celebrating another holiday today, I am celebrating my birthday.
The first awesome gift was waking to snow! (We got a whole 1.5 inches on our deck rail yesterday evening! It was the first snow of the season and we’re all hoping there’s LOTS more where that came from so that we avert drought.) The next gift came when I drew Heron from my oracle card deck.
The question I posed before pulling a card: “What do I need to know about my birthday and the coming year?”
Heron’s message: “Let go of convention and follow your own unique path.”
That reminder resonates and I’m going to try my very best to stay true to my authentic self as I embrace the coming year.
Not the sun or the summer alone, but every hour and season yields its tribute of delight; for every hour and change corresponds to and authorizes a different state of the mind, from breathless noon to grimmest midnight. Nature is a setting that fits equally well a comic or a mourning piece. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Only one of these robins is in focus, but I don’t think there’s mistaking the other’s mood which can only be described as angry-bathing.
There, all better.