Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Western Meadowlark

I took a walk by the nearby reservoir.  The walk was pleasant until a cold rain fell on me.  Before the rain began, I spotted a yellow-breasted bird perched on some rabbit grass and singing at the top of its lungs.  Though my hands were unsteady on the camera and the lens was zoomed out to the maximum 12x magnification, the bird can still be identified as a Western Meadowlark.

Here is a glamour shot from the internet.

Here is a more characteristic pose -- shoulders back and beak open wide in song.

I don't know why the Western Meadowlark is so decorative.  That is a question best left to the philosophers.  I am just glad that God's creation has such delights.

Note: the Western Meadowlark should not be confused with the late Harlem Globetrotters star, Meadowlark Lemon.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Peaceful Saturday

I took advantage of mild weather this afternoon to take a bike ride.  I brought my camera with me, just in case something photogenic popped up.  Unfortunately, the scenery along the bike trail -- the usual assortment of bicyclists, golfers, and prairie dogs -- struck me as trite and weak.  Unwilling to admit defeat, when I returned home, I took a picture of this flowering tree outside my apartment building.

The "darling buds of May" are about two months early this year.

I missed my chance for a snappy photograph early this morning.  As I was driving to the Trompeau French bakery to buy a loaf of rosemary garlic bread and a blueberry croissant, I saw the following couplet from Samuel Taylor Coleridge on the display sign of an army surplus store:

Winter slumbering in the open air;
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!

The army surplus boys are a classy bunch.

Here is the entire poem.  It's a lament rather than an ode to Spring.

Work without Hope  (composed February, 21, 1825)

All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair—
The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing—
And Winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
And I the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.

Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll:
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And Hope without an object cannot live.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Hanging Bird Nests

Yogi Berra said, You can observe a lot by just watching.  This is particularly true when taking a nature walk.

This morning, while walking through trees in the nearby reservoir area, I noticed a hanging bird nest.  I then began watching the trees carefully and observed hanging nests all over the forest.  Here are two examples.

Based on a quick Google search, I am guessing that these hanging nests are made by bushtits.