Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hidden in plain sight

We celebrated the second Saturday in May, International Migratory Bird Day, with a bird walk at Cincinnati Nature Center, where 1000 acres of woods, streams, ponds and fields have come alive.
Leaving a bright, sunny cool morning behind, we walked a couple hours hours where the newly-leafed canopy already prevents much of the light from penetrating. With birdsong all around, we followed the trail, soft beneath our feet from 2-days' rain, weaving and winding into the deepest parts of Rowe Woods, already edged with dense growth. Patches of wild hyacinth, the faintest delicate blue, and spots of bright purple--a larkspur here and there, the only colors now. The wave of showy spring wildflowers has passed with little more than a leaf to tell of what had been.
Already the leaves hide them as their calls ring throughout these woods. And, aside from a swaying branch or a flash of wings as the birds dip through the understory, very few are seen.

An old beech, nothing more now than its silver trunk where woodpeckers have hammered, holds new treasure, though. At the very top, perfectly camouflaged in black and brown against the decaying wood, a large owlet--this spring's Great Horned, soon to fledge. Behind feathers the exact texture of his wood home, his dark features follow us as we pass.

In the fields, the blackberries and grasses are knee high. From every fencepost and treetop, a song rings out--everywhere, the activity is undeniable.

Migrants seen or heard this morning:
Acadian Flycatcher
Barn Swallow
Chimney Swift
Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Wood-Peewee
Great Crested Flycatcher
Indigo Bunting
Louisiana Waterthrush
Northern Parula
Scarlet Tanager
Wood Thrush

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The Birdlady said...

Big eyes watching...Thanks for sharing your walk. And thank you for your comments on my blog.

bobbie said...

It sounds delicious.
I'm glad you found the owl.

Naturegirl said...

Nina I enjoyed this walk with you! Your previous posts have wonderful images!!! Thank you for sharing!

Old Wom Tigley said...

Hi Nina..
Great way to spend some spare time, a very worth while project. We do a 'Garden Watch' over here to see what birds are in certain areas of the UK on a certain day.. then theres 'Spring Watch'.
On a sadder note and one I know you will understand is today I went to a certain pond... not many folk go there as it is now over grown. It is the home to many of our Crested Newts I have not been there for over a year.. I was saddened to see that oil drums had been dumped in the area, a film of oil and goodness knows what else was floting on top... some of the plant life had died back.. I just hope the Newts escaped before they were effected. I email the local council about the drums and the pond but I do not hold much hope.

NCmountainwoman said...

Much as we love the greening and leafing, it does make the birds harder to spot.

I can't believe you spotted the owlet. He is so well camouflauged that it took me a while to see him even after you told me exactly where to look.

Great shots.

nina said...

Birdlady--yes, watching every move--makes me wonder how many times I walk and am watched and never know of it!

Bobbie--it was a wonderful morning and such a dense, peaceful place--perfect weekend activity to end a hectic workweek!

Naturegirl--thanks--this time of year is easy to capture such beauty--I almost have trouble knowing when to stop!

Tom--Yes, sad indeed. Unfortunately so many see an empty space as ready for fill, or see nothing of beauty in standing water. Certainly what you've seen sounds dangerous in many ways.
Sad to think that the sweetest, most tender creatures will suffer harm. But, maybe your note will open someone's eyes to monitoring the area in the future to prevent more dumping?

NCmountainwoman--fortunately the others we were with had a good ear for song...and a tip that the owl nest was there! Isn't is amazingly camouflaged?

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What fun... thanks for taking us along.

MojoMan said...

Amazingly, I also saw a fledgling owl yesterday. I tried to e-mail a photo, but the address I tried to glean from your blogger profile didn't work.

nina said...

I'd love to see it--try again to ninaharfmann at hotmail dot com

I'm going to try to get a better shot tomorrow--when the sun might actually be shining!!

Dave Coulter said...

Very nice. That scarlet tanager and indigo bunting would have done it for me!

babooshka said...

A wonderful collcetion for q. Beautiful images.