June 1st 2018 and…after five MONTHS of silence…I have returned. It isn’t that I chose to be absent, but my laptop died and with a family growing as I added our little man…there simply were no finances for a replacement.
But life, if crazy and stressful, is also beautiful and blessed. We got through the remainder of winter. Saw the first flowers of spring, have watched the mockingbirds build a nest next to the front gate, feed their nestling and seen him grow, fledge and move to the big tree where he is safer and, no doubt, learning to fly properly.
We added a new dog to the brood. There will be an entire post about her soon, I promise.
For now…so happy to be back. So thrilled to be able to share this life journey with you once more.
Parked at the elementary school today, as usual, I enjoyed watching the waterfowl that frequent the fishing pond at the school. The usual company of Great White heron, Great Blue heron, Anhinga, Terns, and White Ibis were joined by a new visitor. A couple of Little Blue herons poked along the shore. So easy to miss, and so lovely to see in their gleaming coats of blue.
We have three bald eagles who live in the trees adjacent to the school: a mated pair, and a single adult we assume is one of their previous offspring. Today a welcome new arrival at the pond as I saw a gorgeous adolescent perched on the fence still resplendent in its rich brown coat.
I hope the youngster sticks around the area as I would love to watch it grow up.
As it flew off into the trees, the White ibis came marching past, searching through the grass along the edge of the pond. Their procession is a familiar sight, but today, a newcomer in their midst, the streaked brown incongruous among the pure white of the group.
I’d never seen a juvenile at the school, as this group doesn’t nest near the pond, so it was a joy to behold strutting among them.
A wonderful continuation of the story of this small pond… the colors of things to come.
There are, in case you haven’t noticed from previous posts, LOTS of birds in the Lowcountry. Which birds changes a bit with the seasons, although there are plenty of year round residents. The last couple of months have rewarded our watching with a familiar resident, but in a new location. Bald eagles have moved to the pond at the elementary school. October is the beginning of nesting season here, so we were delighted to find they have taken up residence where we can look for them every week.
The pond is prime territory, open flight paths, but plenty of trees for roosting and nesting, and a gator free pond stocked with an abundance of fish. By next month the eagles should be laying, and by early spring there will be nestlings to captivate the careful observer.
Snipe may be the stuff of stories and campfire pranks, but here they are among our oddball seasonal shore birds. Wilson’s snipe are hard to spot, they are so well suited to the area, but fun to find strolling through a local ditch or in your yard.
After another successful breeding season here in the Lowcountry, our woodstork population continues to make a comeback from endangered to threatened. They are ungainly to look at, but amazing in flight or roosting in groups in the trees.
As fall cools into winter, we are thankful for the return of our seasonal birds. Another year of survival, another hope we can reduce climate change and protect these animals for our children and generations to come.
A gorgeous day in the Lowcountry…mid 80s, clear blue skies and bright sunshine. Wisteria is coming back from the frosts that killed its first flush a couple of weeks ago, camellias and azaleas are offering a scant but determined final bloom and all around my neighborhood there are pinks, reds, corals, and soft purples rejoicing in Spring’s renewal. We have all the windows open every day and night and the fresh air is such a joy after the claustrophobic chill of winter.
The dogs spend a lot more time outdoors. I spend more free time at the first wave of farm markets. Last week’s excitement was over asparagus. This week I am giddy over the prospect of first crop green (spring) garlic (as farmers thin their fields) and sugar snap peas.
The bluebirds are nesting in the backyard. I love watching them skim across the open flight path between the azaleas on one side, the shrubbery on the other, over the ancient wisteria to their little houses along the back fence. As we are contemplating the possibility of moving from this lovely old house to a smaller place the one thing I should truly miss the most is this yard. Most people miss their homes…apparently for me home is the outdoors, not the in.
Which means I probably should not be surprised at little environmental themes that seem to be continually popping up in my writing. Who knew dragons had such an important environmental niche to fill? (okay, so that doesn’t really surprise me as they would be an apex predator and as such a linchpen in their cycle…. I just hadn’t really given it much consideration till they showed up) Glad they did.
the little Carolina wren who nested in my screen porch rafters last year has a new nest in the same spot this year… looking (actually more like listening) forward to those little peepers. The nest is a rather untidy affair with loose twigs, grass, and other material rather randomly piled into a corner. Still it works for her.
The bird feeder seems a success in its new location under the live oak out front. It is emptied by the birds every other day and so far no squirrels trying to jump into it. No nesting interest in my new birdhouse…but then it came a little late for the first nesters this spring. Maybe later ones will find it.