Unlikely places

“No matter how chaotic it is, wildflowers will still spring up in the middle of nowhere.”  ~ Sheryl Crow

“Wildflowers don’t care where they grow.”  ~Dolly Parton

“I think I like wildflowers best … They just grow wherever they want.  No one has to plant them.  And then their seeds blow in the wind and they find a new place to grow.”  ~Rebecca Donovan

“Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.”  ~Ronald Dahl

“How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold?  Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and in that freedom bold.”  ~William Wordsworth

Black-necked stilt

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

Green Frog

A Green Frog sits on the stem of an aquatic plant, waiting patiently for his next meal to come along.

“Time’s fun when you’re havin’ flies.”  ~Kermit the Frog

A fledgling

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

Burrowing Crayfish

During the daytime, crayfish are seldom seen out in the open, but recently after a good rain, I spotted one moving about in the shallow, clear water of a ditch.

In the spring, crayfish dig tunnels down many feet to reach ground water.  As they dig, they use their legs and mouth to bring mud pellets up to the surface and place them around the opening of their burrows.

They continue adding more pellets on top of each layer until a chimney is formed.  The mud dries hard and serves as a defense against predators.

Each crayfish’s chimney is unique.  Occasionally I like to stop and admire the architecture formed by these freshwater crustaceans, and can’t help but wonder if they were perhaps the inspiration for human adobe or mud homes.

As dry, hot weather arrives, the crayfish plug up the entrance to their burrows and move further down the tunnels where the environment is more to their liking.

“Architects cannot teach nature anything.”  ~ Mark Twain

A peaceful sound

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

Perching along the levee

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 Bobolink

male Indigo bunting

male Dickcissel

immature male Orchard Oriole

Eastern Kingbird

male and female Red-winged blackbirds

“In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence.”  ~Robert Lynd

Out of the nest

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

Carolina Wrens

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

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