In April, we were delighted to see these delicate-looking shorebirds hunting for food in the shallow waters of flooded farm fields close to the Mississippi levee. They only visit our area for a short time, and then migrate on.
“Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.” ~Charles Dickens
This young bird was sitting in the shade on our driveway one afternoon. Later, when I checked on it, it had moved on to parts unknown.
“The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” ~Thomas Edison
As I was sitting out on the screen porch shortly before sundown, taking in the sights and sounds of nature, in the distance I could hear the familiar distant cooing of the mourning dove wafting through the air. With so much craziness going on out in the world, somehow the peaceful sound of this bird’s song was calming music to my ears.
“Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.” ~Unknown
In May, the sounds of a variety of birds hidden in the tall, dense grass along the Mississippi levee fill the air. Seemingly out of nowhere, a bird will flutter through the air and alight on top of a tall weed stalk. It is interesting to slowly ride along the levee road, occasionally stopping to watch in silence, to see what different types of birds can be spotted.
male Indigo bunting
immature male Orchard Oriole
male and female Red-winged blackbirds
“In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence.” ~Robert Lynd
For the past several years, a pair of cardinals have built a nest in a bush outside our screened porch. In the past, I have been able to look through the screen and have a good view of the contents of the nest. However, this year the cardinals scored a rather large piece of plastic, which they used to line the nest. It was so big that it came up several inches behind the nest and made it impossible to see inside. My view was blocked. I had resigned myself to the fact that I probably wouldn’t get to see the babies this year, so I was rather surprised the other day when I went out to change the hummingbird feeders which are located close to the nest, and spied a fledgling sitting out on a branch of the bush.
“The only way to live is to accept each minute as an unrepeatable miracle, which is exactly what it is: a miracle and unrepeatable.” ~ Storm Jameson
A pair of Carolina Wrens have built a nest in our patio rafters. The eggs have now hatched and the parents are very busy hunting for food for the noisy, hungry brood. Their favorite source of food is seeds from the feeders which sit several feet away from the nest. They also are often seen scratching through leaves on the ground or in a nearby woodpile in search of insects and spiders.
“If what you are doing is worth doing, hang in there until it is done.” ~Nido R. Qubein
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
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
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
It’s not necessary to go far from home to enjoy the beauty of nature. If you just sit still and watch, sometimes nature comes to you.
“What a voyage is this we make without leaving for a night our own fireside!” ~John Burroughs