The wrens have taken over. They have tried to build in my bicycle helmet and my garden tool tray and my husbands canoe...all because we left the garage door open one day. They are noisy and attract a lot of attention to their nest, which makes me wonder how smart they are anyway!
This one above is building a nest in the former blue bird house from last summer. The bluebirds spent most of cold spring darting in and out of this jar, but never began a nest. The wrens took advantage of the empty space over a week ago and then declared it home. She is not shy in moving in larger decorative items. This house is just outside my bedroom window and this is the time of year that I leave the windows open to take advantage of the comfortable fresh air. She or he is very noisy...very early!!
These fairy ballerinas in their silken costumes last way too short a time dancing in the spring winds. They swirl and twirl and waft on grape perfume and then are gone almost before the wind dies down. You must click on them to feel the breath of a spring wind on your face.
A few of the readers to this blog have asked about Fred and Ethel. Are they back? How are they doing? Any photos? If you do not know about Fred and Ethel you can go here and for more here.
Or if you are stuck in bed today you can also check out the whole series on these two fish hawks by typing "Just Excellent" in the Blogger search window and working your way forward for several additional posts.
Fred and Ethel are my seasonal residential osprey. Hubby and I in our expensive project of putting in a living shoreline, both to protect our river's edge from further erosion and to improve the environment of the area, also included an osprey platform.
I think that this platform cost us $300, in supplies, labor and permit application. We did this so that the pair of osprey that visit each year can safely nest somewhere. For a couple of years they would nest on the high crane that is parked across the river. This was neither large enough or safe enough in wind storms for them. Then two years ago they decided to nest on the roof of the cabin to our motor boat and when I kept removing the sticks they moved to our neighbors canvas top to their boat. That nest was destroyed and they lost their eggs.
Last year was the first year they returned to find the osprey platform and they claimed it without hesitation. The female, Ethel, has been banded. The male seemed to have some dyslexia in performing his manly duties that year and we surmised that perhaps she had lost her original mate and this fellow was new to the task? Was this Fred II? At any rate, if she eventually laid eggs or not, I never was able to determine. Her nest sitting was uneven and no young osprey ever appeared.
This year they arrived within days of St. Patricks Day which is the time we look for them. They carefully added sticks of all sizes to the nest and mated. I was so busy this spring I did not have time to really study them and their courtship. But each day this week she has sat with regularity on the nest, so there are eggs on that soft green algae from the river.
She clearly remembers me as the person who destroyed her nest in the past and she angrily flies off and on the nest when I am at the dock sitting and enjoying the sunset on our new benches. She cries and cries until she finally sits back on the nest and then just chirps with disgust until I eventually head back to the house. As a result, I have not attempted much in the way of photos.
But, since Fred and Ethel have a fan club I will try to be more generous in sharing their drama in the coming weeks and make an attempt to get photos.
Dozens of hundred-year trees have made their large and impressive farewells within the last three years in this yard. With or without a storm too many have fallen across the raven and across the lawn! Last year our little (10 foot high) dogwood faced a duel with a large tulip poplar and lost one side of itself. It looked sad and forlorn with a torn wound throughout the winter and we wondered how it would fare come spring. But like those who have faced battle and lost something precious of themselves and yet lived and gained strength, our dogwood came forth. In one version talking about this tree it says the dogwood got its name from the hard wood which the American Indian used to form "dags" or daggers and arrows and it was first called dagwood. This wood was so hard that it also was used for tool handles, wine or fruit presses, loom shuttles, mallets, butcher blocks, cutting boards and even knitting needles! Its scientific name is Cornus florida [flowered horn]. It also has inspired legends about reminding the early Christians of the Passion of the Christ with its petals forming a cross like pattern and the very tips of the bracts blood red like the piercings of the hands and feet in the crucifixion. The original American dogwoods are white with this red marking, mine is a hybrid that glows pink.
My dogwood came forth this spring branches unsymmetrical but with perfect pink blossoms to glow another day. It is close to my tiny arbor and I sit and watch it stretch in the evening sun with its flowing wavy bracts that surround tiny innocuous little yellow petals in the very center. Even the leaves with early growth have flowing lines and a pink glow. I watch new growth on the vacant side and know that in years to come, only a small scar will remain from its battle.
The morning is still too cool after last night's rain to sit on my damp chairs on the deck, but I am newly impressed with spring and wrapped in my warm winter bathrobe I take the laptop outside and try to become inspired for something to write...and I listen... and then I hear...
...the sound of a large creaky hinge on a barn door, but since I have no barn with a door in my back yard, I know that it is the familiar creak of a heavy tree branch that leans against another. If the wind hits it just right it has a second sound like a sputter that a 6-year-old might make when he feels bravely arrogant.
This sound is followed the rush of wind briefly caught in the new spring leaves. Wind has a much richer sound now that the trees are all dressed in lime green flags.
I hear the sudden sound of a splash and plop in the river. The fish are back!
Then there is the sound of a distant machine backing up...not the tinny beep most commonly heard but more like an old bell clanging a half dozen times.
There is the sound of the osprey giving out his morning call to his mate. This familiar chirp is sharp and piercing and high on the wind sounding almost childlike.
The above sound is followed by the loud and raucous crow who calls boldly to no one in particular and everyone in general.
Next is the flat and disdainful yawp of the mallard that stays on our side of the river, but can never be seen when I head down to the dock.
If I listen ever so carefully I can hear the intermittent clang of a halyard on one of the boats at a distant dock.
Then as the sun begins to warm the view, various tiny birds share their territorial chorale with me. Some short and lilting and others distant and lyrical. They sound like cheerleaders on distant teams calling and re-calling their team spirit.