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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Early Birds

The early bird gets the worm, right? I think that must count for grubs too.  This young chipping sparrow found a mouthfull this morning before the sun was even over the edge of our hill. It must think it has found a private grocery market for the family.  There were several on the same log yesterday afternoon while I was "deadheading" the wildflower patches. This morning this one was alone getting the best pickings.
While slowly walking down a path lined with ripening blackberries I heard a raspy "chip-bang. chip-bang." A flash of red drew my attention to the tree canopy. At first, neither my eyes nor my camera could focus fast enough to discover who was making that noise. I had a pretty good idea, though, knowing that it was not a cardinal calling from above. Finally I was rewarded with a good view of a male scarlet tanager, his black wings pasted onto a scarlet round body.
I believe I actually saw a male and a female. This yellow bird seemed to be making the same "chip-bang" call. I'm too far away for my camera to get a good shot  but it looked to be the same size bird and fits the book description. If you know better, please feel free to comment.
They both flew around me for a bit, must have been satisfied that I wasn't much of a threat then returned to the higher canopy.  I was at the crest of a small hill, looking down into the trees each tanager occupied. The sun was just beginning to touch the trees beyond the birds. Otherwise it would have been to bright for any photo at all. My position put me at a point where I could almost look down on the birds. I also must have been in the middle of a mosquito village, for the tiny pests searched out and found every exposed bit of skin I had.  
While I stood watching the scarlet tanagers, a towhee was watching me.  I could here the familiar scratching in the forest floor debris until it suddenly stopped, replaced by the towhee's call from the branches in front of me as it repeatedly insisted that I "drink your tea."  I would have gladly drunk my tea had I brought a cup with me. This towhee may have been related to the pair that inhabit my garden. The garden couple have little fear of me and work through the debris close by while I quietly weed in the evenings.

Once I was thoroughly checked out, this bird, like the tanagers, returned to its days work which was securing food. I, too needed to return to my day's work.  Today that means making cookies in preparation of this weekend's concert in our Dance Hall.  While we listen to the string music of the Sample Brothers, guests will hopefully be able to munch on chocolate chip cookies. If this is going to happen, though, I had better get cooking.

1 comment:

Naturedigital said...

Beautiful photographs..
Wish i could listen to their morning songs.