Book of Days
BOOK OF DAYS: A POET AND NATURALIST TRIES TO FIND POETRY IN EVERY DAY
Filtering by Tag: junco
|In the Five Senses Garden|
|Alliums gone by|
standing just so
under the flowering dogwood
fragrant pink sky
atop the weathervane
this garden is his
so the lavender's eye-level,
I imagine fields full
Star of Persia allium
fireworks above the ferns
rain on rose petals
flush of memory
As I stood there in the center of the room, one of the jays landed in a feeder. Usually I shoo them off because they're too big for the feeders, and they eat too much. But I hadn't seen a jay here for awhile, so decided to let it eat in peace. Their blue plumage (which isn't really blue, but that's another story) looks so pretty in contrast with the white snow.
Soon the second jay passed overhead, moving from a nearby tree to the edge of the roof over my feeders. But instead of another jay at a feeder, a Red-Bellied Woodpecker suddenly appeared.
|Red-bellied Woodpecker (male). |
Photo by Ken Thomas via Wikimedia Commons.
Should I expect all my dreams
to become as real
as this visiting woodpecker?
Despite today's raw edge, there are some signs of spring out there. Sheltered by a south-facing wall at the Camden Public Library, clusters of crocus bloom cheerily, always the first flowers I see each year. Around the neighborhood, milk jugs hang from maple trees, collecting sap; this is Maine Maple Sunday, after all. The Canadian robins have mostly moved northward and incoming migrant robins are beginning to feed on half-frozen lawns--a shift from their winter diet of fruits and berries. I spotted some red-winged blackbirds in Lincolnville along Frohock Brook. Many trilling juncos create music in the bare trees around our house. A tom turkey, surrounded by a heedless harem, was displaying in the back yard a few days ago. And Canada geese are beginning to return to the Megunticook River, even as winter ducks--goldeneyes, buffleheads--linger before heading up to Hudson Bay and points north. I've even noticed that some of my lilies are starting to poke tender green shoots through the veneer of dead leaves and road grit plastered across the front lawn (along with remnant snow banks that will probably linger till the next Ice Age). We're on the cusp of the season.
Goodbye and hello:
birds of winter, birds of spring
Leaves skitter like birds,
birds scatter like leaves. Two black
ravens ride the wind.
Later in the day a flock of a dozen or more juncos passed through, scuttling in the heaps of fallen leaves, trilling in the pines. Juncos are often accompanied by sparrows, but all I had were my lousy office binoculars, so I couldn't pick out anything but a junco in the bunch. These pert grey and white birds with pink bills will also appear intermittently throughout the winter. My grandmother used to call them "snowbirds."
A birder friend in southern Maine reported literally thousands of cormorants migrating off Biddeford Pool and Eastern Point this morning, including one single flock of 2,500 to 3,000 birds! Cormorants fly in big vees like geese, although often in much more dramatic numbers and more quietly--endless skeins of birds flapping their wings with purpose.
These crowds of feeding, flying creatures moving overhead or in the underbrush add to the overall restless and unsettled mood of this season of transitions. I find myself jumping out of my office chair, useless binoculars in hand, walking from window to window and then outside, wanting to follow the birds. Not far--just enough to get a sense of where they're going. Although as darkness closes in so early now and a chilly fog shrouds the mountaintop, heading south to warmer climes appeals to me more and more. I'm not prepared for winter.
Restless birds fly south
ahead of snow. How I long
to grow wings, follow.
The first bird is a junco that has been coming to a feeder in Freedom for most of December. Normally, a junco is an overall slate-grey bird with a white belly. This junco, photographed on a very snowy feeder against snow-covered bushes, is strikingly white, with only a thin dark edge to its wings, dark eyes, and a junco's typical pink legs and bill. This beautiful bird looks as if it's been crafted from the surrounding drifts and brought to life--Frosty the Snowbird. I wonder if it's aware how well it blends in with the snow, if it has learned how to make itself invisible.
This morning a birder in southern Maine posted a photo of a leucistic red-tailed hawk that has apparently been regularly seen in Eliot for the past four years in the neighborhood of the Marshwood Middle School. The photographer has seen the bird with his non-white mate. (With most hawks, the females are larger, hence the assumption that the smaller, white bird is male. Apparently his freakish color didn't render him unattractive to at least one other of his kind.) The photo shows a white hawk flying against a background of bare trees. Except for his dark eye and bill, the hawk truly looks like a ghost bird, or the surreal visitation of some forest angel.
Two unusual white birds during these snowy days of winter, two pale muses:
White bird in winter--
blank as the snow-covered field
and as beautiful.