March 20, 2013

At last the return of those endearing winged friends, Lucy’s Warblers, at the stockpond. Should’ve been long before this that the mesquites be alive with their songs, but the branches have remained silent. Maybe they’d finally realized if they just waited that they wouldn’t have to suffer through deeply freezing mornings, especially in the bottomlands? “How could those neotropicals stand those cold spells that come in for a while after the birds usually do?”, I often wonder, and it looks like they won’t have to this year. It isn’t a species that I’ve seen straggle in a few at a time, no, either the edges and bosques are empty and quiet, or all around the bush is alive with the birds flitting or “warbling”, as if the whole lot of them arrived on the same wind in the night and were completely unpacked and at home by sunrise. Global warming at the bottom of this change, both the lateness of the arrivals and the difference in the patterns once they’ve got here? It’s happening with other species that are part of our lives on the River. I’m reminded of how Jamaicans lamented and accepted their island’s world in the 1970s when I was there: “Eb’ry’teeng change-up!”

A Sulphur butterfly alone in the wide sweep of the fields, and it’s warm enough to have a single frog push off from the mud into the open pond … the last paperthin ice of three weeks ago seems as gone as the Ice Age.

The male Vermillion Flycatcher that has been the cock of this rock for a little while found he had a rival this morning, how disappointing for him. The two of them had a showdown in a tree top above the edge of the pond almost overhead of where I sat in the truck … went at each other in a spiral of claws and bursts of red feathers and slowly dropped to the ground, where they corkscrewed deep into the dust and almost disappeared in the brown cloud. A “dust up”, defined!