Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Little Rain Must Fall

Sunday morning we went on a bird walk with Beckham Bird Club. Well, you would really have to say we went on a bird "slop" since it poured like crazy all morning, and we slopped around Bernheim Forest anyway with our brave leader, Eddie. Since we were the only participants, I gave him the chance to back out and go home, but he said he would have done some birding even if no one showed up, despite the rain. Eddie is a dedicated birder. I didn't take any photos then, not wanting to get the camera wet, so I returned to Bernheim this morning in the bright sunshine, which rapidly changed to cold, windy, and more rain showers. Ah, well, I'm here. Might as well stay for a while.

Barn Swallows nest under the eaves of the Garden Pavilion, swooping down at your head when you get too close, twittering angrily. The females should have more confidence in their nests plastered high in the rafters. She can't even be seen if she stays down inside the nest.

Nevin Lake hosts Tree Swallows and Purple Martins as well as the Barn Swallows. They all swoop over the water at the same time after flying insects. It's a wonder they don't run into each other once in a while. I'd hate to be the Air Traffic Controller over the lake for these birds.

"Honey, I'm home."
The Brown Thrasher says, "What, you again? Don't you ever give up?"

Titmice and Robins abound and sing loudly. A fledgling Robin sat quietly in a small tree, letting visitors get within about 3 feet. Isn't it a little early for them to be fledged, let alone hatched? It's still cold out there. Hundreds of Cedar Waxwings sat silhouetted in the very tops of the trees eating blossoms.

Driving up the hill with the window open, I hear a loud whinny, then see the scarlet and black flash of a Pileated Woodpecker. Now some birders pronounce this "pie-lee-ated." My mother-in-law always said "pill-ee-ated" and that's been good enough for me!

Two squirrels chased each other around the trees, but one of them looked a little unusual. I think this is a Fox Squirrel, while we see Grey Squirrels most often around here. And I thought it was hard to get a bird to sit still for a photograph!

We will be on a marathon birding and blooming trip beginning this Friday at Pine Mountain Settlement School with the Kentucky Society for Natural History. On Sunday, we will then drive across the mountains to Fayetteville, WV for the New River Birding Festival. I can't wait! I just hope there will be time to work with my photos each day and post to this blog. From the schedules it looks like I'll be doing good just to get to bed and then up the next morning in time!


KatDoc said...

Beautiful swallows! My Barn Swallows aren't back yet. They never nest in my barn, but they bring their young ones around every year. I love watching the swallows in the evening - they work different levels, so that they never seem to crash into each other.

No, it is not at all too early for fledgling robins - I have seen nests with eggs when there is snow on the ground.


Lynne said...

Hi Kathy- I heard you're joining the Flock in West Virginia next week! I look forward to meeting you there.