Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male)

One of my favorite birds has finally arrived back in our area.  This beautiful Rose-breasted Grosbeak is migrating through on his way to his northern breeding grounds.  Not always easy to spot because of his timid nature, he may remain carefully hidden among foliage before cautiously venturing out to get his fill of black sunflower seeds from the feeders.

“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bald eaglets

We were excited to see a young eaglet sitting on the edge of a nest in a tree along the Mississippi River.  A second eaglet could be seen lower in the nest, stretching its wings.  Eventually one of the parents came back to the tree and sat in the shadow of a branch above them, dutifully keeping watch before settling back into the nest.

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”  ~ Helen Keller

Hang on

We spotted these dragonflies on a walking trail at Reelfoot Wildlife Refuge.  There were a number of them congregating in the sunny spots along the trail.

“Luck consists largely of hanging on by your fingernails until things start to go your way.”  ~Aaron Allston

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

As I was admiring the blooms of a white lilac, a beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail came floating through the air and began drinking his fill of the nectar from the fragrant flowers.  It was quite an unexpected and welcome surprise.

“Unexpected intrusions of beauty.  That is what life is.”  ~Saul Bellow

Good for the soul

After spending a lot of time in the house, we got out last night and walked on our country road shortly before sunset.  The beauty of the clouds at sunset, the colorful meadow flowers and the full pink moon were refreshing.   I have to say the walk was good for my soul.

“Walking is good for the soul.”  ~Andy Rooney

Decorate my soul with spring.  Fill its depth with lovely things.”  ~Angie Weiland-Crosby

“Nature’s palette is calming to the soul.”  ~Unknown

“There is a serene and settled majesty to woodland scenery that enters into the soul and delights and elevates it, and fills it with noble inclinations.”  ~Washington Irving

“I was surrounded by life and beauty.  My soul was content, and my life felt full.”  ~Jennifer Pharr Davis

“A little bit of country is good for the soul.”  ~Unknown

“A daily dose of daydreaming heals the heart, soothes the soul, and strengthens the imagination.”  ~Richelle E. Goodrich

“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.”  ~Mary Davis

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God … because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.”  ~Anne Frank

Pelican and friends

This white pelican looked very comfortable sitting quietly with his two turtle friends on a log along the levee.

“The best kind of friend is the kind you sit with, never say a word and walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you ever had.”  ~Steven Wright

Muskrats

Shortly before dusk, a muskrat came swimming across the lake toward the boardwalk at the refuge.  As it swam about in the shallow water, foraging on aquatic plants, it joined in a chorus of high-pitched squeals with a couple of other muskrats that were swimming nearby.

“Talking to your best friend is sometimes all the therapy that you need.”  ~Unknown

A Leaf Nest

I’ve been watching this nest for some time, pretty sure that it belonged to one of the Eastern gray squirrel families that frequent our yard.  It’s carefully positioned in a fork between a stout pine limb and the main trunk and was constructed out of sticks, pine needles, leaves and other natural materials.  It is in a perfect place for a nest because of its proximity to a bird feeder and an endless supply of pine cones.

This afternoon, I spied a squirrel exiting the nest.  It positioned itself on a forked branch below the nest which afforded it a wide view of our yard.  Seeing that the coast was clear,  it eased down the side of the tree and over to the feeder for a snack of sunflower seeds before heading to the birdbath for a quick drink.

Shortly after the first squirrel left the tree, a second one also came out of the nest, sitting a while on a nearby branch before heading to the forked overlook for a careful survey of the yard.  Feeling safe, it too carefully climbed down the side of the tree and headed to a feeder — ever mindful of the watch dog who faithfully guards the yard.

“But when it comes to living there is no place like home.”  ~Henry van Dyke

Around the levee

At this time of year, a drive around the flooded fields and woods surrounding the Mississippi levee never disappoints.  It offers an opportunity to observe a variety of  waterfowl and small birds.

“Birds are the most popular group in the animal kingdom. We feed them and tame them and think we know them. And yet they inhabit a world which is really rather mysterious.”  ~David Attenborough