"Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens."

Carl Jung


Return of the Wood Ducks

Right on time, a pair of beautiful Wood Ducks have returned to our woods. Good numbers of them always pass through each spring season, searching the uppermost reaches of our trees for nesting cavities, while calling to each other as they move from tree to tree.

There is no question that the drake Wood Duck is the most colorful of all waterfowl species. They're unique in that they require wooded habitat in which to nest and breed, and they often use old Pileated Woodpecker holes as nesting sites. Although our property holds many vernal pools and is quite flooded in low-lying areas now, the Wood Ducks most always move on in their search for suitable nesting areas-- and if they do remain here to nest, we rarely view them as I always hang a mental 'keep out' sign once our area birds are on their nests.  There's always something quite amusing to watch these splendid ducks clamboring about tree branches, which they do quite well despite their webbed feet.  The male and female both came down to waddle about in search of acorns between their flights of fancy.

 We're hearing many more little tractor engine sounds of male Ruffed Grouse drumming and the woodpecker tribe is beginning to seek out objects, like metal signs, to drum on as well.   Our Purple Finch numbers are growing in large leaps and bounds and we had a lone female House Finch feeding among the purples yesterday- they've only visited one other time that I know of over the past 8 years. I always enjoy the variations of plumage in House Finch and miss watching them since we moved to wooded habitat.

I also viewed our first Question Mark butterfly of the season today and quite a few small moths were taking advantage of the warmer temps, skirting around the edge of the woods only to dissapear quickly within the leaf litter. Meanwhile, the thistle feeder hanging outside my bedroom window is still covered with many Pine Siskin.  They usually leave our area by now to head back to more northerly regions, but I'm definitely not complaining.


Celebrating the Mystery

Once upon a time I was a what one could easily call a multi-tasker, in every area of my life. My family and employment always always came first, and afterwards my muse and wide range of interests would lead me down so many diverse and interesting paths.  I've participated in umpteen various citizen science projects over the past 30 something years, and I don't regret a single one of them.   It was difficult for me to turn a blind eye to entities that were lacking in data regarding nesting/breeding Common Loons, American Woodcock, Northern Goshawks, Kirtland's Warblers, Purple Martins, Eastern Bluebirds, frogs, butterflies, moths, etc etc., because in my way of thinking,  I was out in the field exploring anyways, so why not participate and help out?

Although I can fully appreciate the value of documenting sightings/species, etc,  since many of the subjects I observed were/are indicator species,  the paperwork and time involved became much too tedious and overbearing.  I'm declining invitations that are once again requesting my attentions and energies for their causes. If I were physically healthy, it would be quite a different story. But then again, maybe not... my priorities and mindset have changed greatly over the past few years.

I'll never forget a certain warm and moonlit summer evening a few years ago, where I stood in our woods in complete and utter amazement as tiny white moths emerged from the leaf litter by the thousands. For all practical purposes it appeared to be snowing backwards as small white wings fluttered upwards all around me.  I turned off my headlamp and time stood still.  Tears of pure joy cooled my hot cheeks as I embraced the event in totality, for I felt a certain grace that still cannot be explained in words nor captured with a photograph of any kind.

I've always been a curious sort, wanting to now the 'hows and whys' about most everything in the natural world. I'd spend countless hours pouring through shelves of field guides- categorizing, labelling, naming and fitting everything into a nice neat slot before heading out again to repeat the same rituals. I'm slowly learning (or I should say relearning) to appreciate and celebrate the mystery.  The moments.  I breathe it all in as deeply as possible, and when I exhale I feel nothing but gladness.

'A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.' Chinese Proverb


Haiku to Spring



tree sparrows singing

snowcover returns teasing

disgruntled blackbirds