Posted by: atowhee | March 6, 2021

ONCE UPON A WINTER’S DAY

This morning Nora and I had just arrived at the Fairview Wetlands.  As we got out of the car the Cacklers also arrived, from the south, calling and coming in the linear waves of a large flock.  They passed over our heads and circled, slowly lowering, then back-flapping landed softly the lawn of the Fish & Wildlife office lawn.  It was easy to pretend the came to be seen.  Half an hour later we getting ready to leave…just one more close-up shot out the car window.  Suddenly the geese alarmed, made a great cacophony and flew rapidly up and away.  A glance to the north revealed the cause—two first-year Bald Eagles headed our way.  A few minutes later I saw the flock had settled onto the campus of the Yamasa soy sauce plant.

In the middle image above the pale yellow dots mark the two Cacklers with the white necklace below the dark neck. A small percentage of the population shows this plumage trait. Canada Geese never have this white necklace. Below the double-eagle flight that caused the Cacklers to evacuate:

At Fairview I saw a Killdeer wandering across the street.  I suspect it was on a real estate scouting trip. Was there a flat roof or parking lot nook that might make the best nesting site for the coming spring?  Speaking of scouts—for the first time I saw a House Sparrow in our garden.  It was an adult male and he was clearly checking out the roof, the gutter line, the overhanging limbs—nest hole anywhere here?

The pintails are often seen with head beneath the water and tail vertical or pointing off toward the horizon. You may wonder if this is driven by dietary predilection or spiritual inclination. Do they point to the heavens deliberately or is that simply a result of getting their beak down into the good stuff several inches below the surface? Only pintail knows for sure.

At one point a Yellow-rumped Warbler was less than two feet from a pair of Green-winged Teal. The ducks were dabbling around the base of a stubby spirea where the warbler perched. The proximity speaks to the adaptability of the warbler, going wherver foods beckons in winter. Here are those birds after they moved further apart:

I often can rouse some Wilson’s Snipe in the marsh north of Fairview Drive and just east of Jordan Crossing building. Today there were five and I tracked them with my camera for some under-whelming shots of their erratic zig-zag flying:

Shortly after dawn I heard a Wild Turkey calling somewhere east of our home.  Later the Downy showed up to drum on a limb in the gum tree.  Off to the west a flicker screamed repeatedly.  The crows, as usual, were loud—demanding peanuts.   The sounds of spring.  Joining the winter show show: today I noted my first blooming star magnolia and now the forsythia and camellia are showing their true colors. Along country roads in Polk County yesterday I passed by walls of blooming plum—white and pink.  In one garden the edwardia, still bare, were pushing out their creamy yellow blooms.


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