For an instant I’d heard it— then, again and again. A sound more mechanical than animal, yet one I had hoped to one day hear, here, where the woods fade to fields and scrub surrounds the pond. But, with phone to my ear as I was, outdoors that evening chatting, positioned in the one spot guaranteed to carry a conversation through from start to finish, I dared not take a step. In just minutes, all was quiet. And, walking back into the house in the darkness, I replayed it again in my mind. Yes, a handful of repeated nasal notes, with pauses between of several seconds. I hoped what I’d heard was right. For I wanted to have heard a Woodcock.
Each day that followed I returned, and listened carefully at dusk for the secretive bird, a shorebird at home in the woods. Eyes to the sky for some sign of him. Ears waiting for the telling call. Still finding, each night, nothing. Until, the bird I’d heard was a memory— an uncertain one, at best.
Ten days passed, and on a bright and shining morning, wrapped up in the pond walking and pool watching that this season uses to distract me, I stepped up and over the berm toward Little Pond pool, eyes skipping over the grass, looking straight to the water’s surface. When, from just inches ahead of my steps, up shot a small, wildly flapping, brown bird. And, against the bright blue, this shape certain—long bill, short tail.
So, I find myself returning there, each day, and walking slowly. To see who wanders the bank, probing the earth for worms.
Duckweed on Little Pond
And although I had hoped for a Woodcock, I think this fine frog feels most special, to have captured the attention of a grown woman, while setting out to capture his dinner.
Winning image for the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp competition!
The 2012 OWLStamp will be available for sale March 1, 2012 through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website and nature organizations across the state. Proceeds of the OWLStamp benefit wildlife conservation, research & education projects within the state of Ohio! I'm thrilled to have provided the winning image for such a wonderful program!
The Adventures of Red Canoe
Come along in Red Canoe as she explores the quiet backwater of Ohio's State Parks and the scenic streams and rivers of the Midwest. Discover the beauty hidden beyond the water's edge, quietly waiting, past access points, often only inches deep!
A regularly appearing feature, "Have you seen..." takes a closer, more patient look at things usually not seen in a flattering light.Take a look!
The Sweetness of Spring
Each spring, as winter lessens its grip and days warm with the first fragrant breezes of a new season, we collect sap from our Sugar Maples and produce just enough syrup for ourselves for the coming year. The progress of this year's backyard endeavor is illustrated here.
A Bird's Life
Summer 2008, the tiny jewel of the avian world, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, nested just feet from my front door. Pictures of her nest and the changing lives within are collected in thisjournal.From life the size of a pea....