Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bird Brain

Escaping the rigmarole for a few hours early Saturday afternoon, I used the time wisely and went hunting for scenes of spring at Arcadia and around the Oxbow....







The typical early May day, with a fresh breeze and everything greening up nicely.





Insects of all kinds are now making their presence known, with butterflies and dragonflies skirting around the meadow grasses and the wildflowers that have bloomed so far...



Away from the meadows for a quick look around some of the trails...



...to find they are being well used even when the humans aren't around...





The animals are quick to yield the trail to the towering, lumbering bipeds and make for the thicket when they get too close...





The song birds were are in full tweet...



Mockingbirds, the cover-band singers of the bird world, prolifically copy other birds' songs, and do it right. Their long musical notes string along beautifully, high up in the trees...



The bridge over the mill river is finally open again for the season, allowing easy access to the broad fields on the other side of Arcadia.



Crossing over, I walked along the meadow's edge, and saw Arcadia's great bird blind for the first time from this side. From that blind I've seen duck boxes set up here and there on the opposite shore, so I thought I'd get a good close look at one.



Some of the boxes have definitely done their duty, and are showing serious signs of wear.



Possibly, it's one of the things these Audubon workers were out on the water surveying...



Until they're replaced, some ducks might have to rough it.



The ducks can certainly use the boxes to protect their young from the hawks and eagles forever soaring high above, scanning for prey...





What..? They're eagles.

Every year at this time, I make sure to head over to this area to welcome the return of the velvety-blue bluebirds,





...and the iridescently blue tree swallows.



They usually hang out in the same areas and populate the same boxes. Inevitably, the tenancy of some of the bird boxes will come into dispute.



This year I came determined to get better shots of the tree swallows than last year, and did what I could to get in closer to the bird boxes. I would need to sneak across the big open no-man's land to the boxes out in the open.



A few steps at a time, trying not to make eye contact, pausing. Moving closer again, but not directly at the bird boxes, waiting a minute, moving a little closer. Crouching down on the grass...removing the tick that's crawling up my arm...slowly getting up again, moving a little closer, crouching again. Plucking another tick off of the back of my neck...

What's a little Lyme disease when there's tree swallow shots to be had?

At last I got about a dozen feet away and had taken enough time and care for the swallows to get acclimated to my presence.



They soon went about their business again...









It's so good to be able to greet these harbingers of spring, once again.

5 comments:

Radar Check said...

Nice job on the birds I remember last years dive bombers.

Mark T. Alamed said...

Excellent photographs, Tony! Great post!

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

These are such great shots. I get a kick out of the bird and the bunny.

Tony said...

Thanks you guys,

Isn't spring the finest season of the year...

dominique said...

Wow! What a spectacular post! But, how did you avoid the black flies? You are really a master at capturing the feel and beauty of the places you visit, thank you very much.