What Gorgeous Thing

“What Gorgeous Thing” by Mary Oliver

I do not know what gorgeous thing
the bluebird keeps saying,
his voice easing out of his throat,
beak, body into the pink air
of the early morning. I like it
whatever it is. Sometimes
it seems the only thing in the world
that is without dark thoughts.
Sometimes it seems the only thing
in the world that is without
questions that can’t and probably
never will be answered, the
only thing that is entirely content
with the pink, then clear white
morning and, gratefully, says so.

from Blue Horses
Copyright 2014 by Penguin Press

Female perched on top of our umbrella.

Juvenile on the left, male on the right.

As of late…

Beautiful dragonfly in my flowers last weekend. Not sure what kind. Watched it for a few minutes through my zoom lens. I am always intrigued by what I see when I’m spying this way. He reminded me of an alien, or a robot, or a robot alien. I haven’t taken the time to identify it yet but I hope to circle back and do so.

Still having fun taking photos of the several bluebirds frequenting our backyard this year.

This bluetail butterfly was enjoying our weedy lawn one day last week.
Went out at about 6:00 this morning to check the lake for invasive milfoil (sadly it has returned) and was delighted to watch this muskrat gobbling up some weeds. This guy was so focused on eating that he was about three feet away from my kayak before he noticed me and swam in another direction.
What better way to start the day than sunshine and fresh greens?
This is the osprey pair that lives across from our place. I didn’t have my camera ready (I was supposed to be searching for milfoil, after all) so I missed a shot of one of the birds gliding back to the nest with a stick. Now I am curious how far into the season (perhaps all season, as needed?) they work on their nests. The answer to this will have to wait for my day job to quiet down a bit.
Had I not paddled closer to the osprey nest for these shots (still taken with a zoom at a distance) I would have missed seeing Marty Muskrat enjoying fine dining.

Full moon madness

Next full moon is June 14th. This month’s full moon is known as the Strawberry Moon. Lately humans have been acting more like wild animals than the wild animals. I’d like to blame the moon but at some point we probably ought to own the chaos humans wreak upon each other, our planet, and all of the plants and creatures and rocks and minerals we share space with.

Memorial Day Morning

Out for an early paddle. Saw six adult loons and two osprey. Also watched an eagle first frighten the loons (see below) by flying low overhead and later enrage a pair of ravens. The raven pictured below slowly worked his way closer to the eagle by jumping from branch to branch, vocalizing, fluffing up his wings, and ripping off small bits of tree (twigs and pine needles) and flinging them around. The eagle was unmoved.

Of hummingbirds and fluid traps

The ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) migrates to breeding habitats primarily east of the Rocky Mountains, from the Gulf of Mexico to southern Canada. It is the only species that nests east of the Mississippi River and is the only hummingbird that is regularly seen in Maine. Source: https://extension.umaine.edu/publications/7152e, Bulletin #7152, Understanding Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds and Enhancing Their Habitat in Maine.

Hummingbirds drink nectar using tongues that are so long that, when retracted, they coil up inside the birds’ heads, around their skulls and eyes. At its tip, the tongue divides in two and its outer edges curve inward, creating two tubes running side by side. The tubes don’t close up, so the birds can’t suck on them as if they were straws. Instead, scientists believed that the tubes are narrow enough to passively draw liquid into themselves. That process is called capillary action. It’s why water soaks into a paper towel, why tears emerge from your eyes, and ink runs into the nibs of fountain pens. Source: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/11/hummingbird-tongues/546992/

Source: https://marinefm.org/EFM-Notebook/10709025

Bluebirds, Baltimore Orioles, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Great Blue Herons

The past few days have given us a reminder of August – hot days, blazing skies, parched earth. Yet for the wild animals that I share space with, it is spring business as usual. The phoebes have completed their nest beneath our deck, and I believe the osprey are done their nest refurbishment too, since I have not seen them fly over with sticks for at least a week now. This is our first year with bluebirds, and they seem to live in the field across from our dirt road. Our fence is a hit with the phoebes and the bluebirds, and the Baltimore Orioles are thrilled with our offering of oranges and grape jelly. Who wants to live in the city? Not me.

Nesting and fishing

We have a pair of phoebes working on a nest under the deck again. (Trying to work and watch for them to fly under the deck – which they won’t do when my three hooligans are out running around and chasing osprey and eagles out of our air space. For real.)

The second photo shows two osprey that will be nesting on a small island near our house once again. In late April/early May we see them flying over the house “empty-handed” and then returning to their nest with a stick to spruce up the nest.

The same windy night that I saw the osprey I also saw a pair of loons. It was windy and wavy (and I’d already stepped into the water up to my knees to avoid completely falling out of my kayak) but I got some photos – just not very good ones. The loons were bathing, which often involves a fair amount of hilarity (in my view).