Ever arrive at a house party a little early? The host is too busy to chat as last minute details are getting set out, meals are being prepared and a general atmosphere of expectation fills the rooms. Better yet, if you’ve arrived early at a performance and the entertainers are warming up and hanging out? There is an energy, a pressure, of something just about to start up. Everyone knows when it gets up to it’s full speed the event is going to be great but at the very beginning there is just a very low hum.
This is what it’s like in the woods these days.
After a long winter full of snow, long lasting cold spells and ice there are now party decorations everywhere. Things are about to get going and it’s about to get very very busy out there. I was able to get out with the kids last weekend and they were able to see their first Bald Eagle working the melting ice on Lake Monroe. It was also my first photographic capture of an eagle. I was delighted.
Initial signs are everywhere. Bulbed flowers have begun pushing through the soil. The first of the migrants are starting to make their way back into the area. Reports of horned larks have filtered in. Sandhill Cranes have been heard overhead. Though not a migrant, I heard the signature call of a red-winged blackbird at dusk for the first time since early Fall.
Earlier this week the temperatures went up into the 50’s and I was delighted to see some red eared slider turtles hanging out at the pond during my afternoon nature walk. Approaching the pond so many turtles splashed in it was like kids throwing rocks in the water.
Two days ago I watched five or six Downy Woodpeckers in an activity that looked like tag around a broken limb of a dead tree. This was the most Downy woodpeckers I’ve seen in one spot at one time. One would claim the “base” and the other four would zip in and knock them off. I can only assume it’s some form of spring courtship or maybe a territorial dispute. All of them were partaking in the little game that seemed to go on all afternoon.
It’s an exciting time. One of my new year’s resolutions was to get out more with the kids, the family, and just with myself. More explorations to come and, I am happy to announce, a few more projects. There are at least three in the works. Secret plans that I have been concocting in the dark coyote cave during the gloomy winter months. One will start almost immediately and I will be posting about others in the weeks and months to come.
Post edit note: Even after writing this post and collecting the photographs the past two days have sprung into the 60’s and low 70’s. The party is happening and it’s happening FAST!