Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Birds of Sugar Creek

photo courtesy Jim McCormac

What’s wrong with this picture?
It's a group shot, from the Sugar Creek field trip at the New River Birding and Nature Festival where I spent the last wonderful week...a picture of fellow-birders, gladdened by a very birdy morning, hungrily having taken in long, lavish looks at a prized warbler as we wove a slow path down this gravelly West Virginia mountain road.
I’m that speck in the background—that stooping, bending form that seems otherwise occupied, oblivious to the purpose of the day--diddling in the ditch, while birds drip from the trees all around.
But odd as it may seem, I capture it better that way.

Scanning the bank, with each plant I create a richer picture of where I am, define a habitat a bit more thoroughly in my mind. With birdsong overhead, my snapshot is complete—a perfect picture remembered with as much detail as one might find when they recall exactly where they were or what they were doing the day that Elvis died.

Cerulean Warbler
Early meadow rue was blooming.
Little wind chimes tinkle

on a morning wet with dew.

Hooded Warbler
Through the thick woods,
brilliant birdsong hangs in the air

like tiny bells of Solomon’s seal.

Kentucky Warbler
A tangled bank is heavily planted
with bellwort, Canada waterleaf,
and a quick glimpse of a bird.

American Redstart
Jack-in-the-pulpit, tall and proud,
stands at the berm surveying the scene,
guarding the nest.

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Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Nina, I love that you are that person scrunched down in the ditch. You see things that most of us don't see. Then you share it with us. I am humbled by your vision.

eileeninmd said...

Lovely post and photos.

Heather said...

Even though I was on the other Sugar Creek trip, I would have to agree that this was a good one for getting lost in the ditch. I missed the Kentucky Warbler b/c I got too far behind my group. Ooops! What a lovely way to start off your recounting of the festival.

Trish Callis said...

I love the come-hither barely visible red lining of the Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Thank you for showing us a different way to see...

Guy said...


What beautiful photos. I must admit I love a great wildflower shot every bit as much as a great bird photo.

All the best.


Mike Whittemore said...

Beautiful post!

Kay said...

I love your short reflections. I agree that the where of the bird sighting is as important as the sighting. Sounds, textures, smells--not just sight, and not just bird.
Love your blog.

Guy said...

Hi Nina

I have to say that even when on a birding trip it is the whole package, birds, plants insects etc that I enjoy and remember.

Thanks Guy

dAwN said...

Beautiful post Nina~Seems like we both share a love of looking down..