For days now, smoke has hung on the air, seeming to press in on me. It is a difficult thing to take pause and contemplate the horrendous impact so many wildfires are having on people and their homes as well as wildlife and its various ecosystems. The yellow cast of grey over every landscape is a constant reminder. An absence of the mountains on my horizon to the west is disorienting. The burning sensation behind my nose and throat brings on headaches and a heavy feeling. It is a difficult time for so many people north and south of the border, east and west. This is a strange and other-worldly experience.
At the river, the mornings are quiet, with far less activity and chatter from the birds. I don’t know if other birder friends have found this, but the Red Winged Blackbirds, usually first to arrive in early spring, seem to have taken their offspring and skipped town. I miss their calls, especially at the pond.
The Bald Eagle couple have been diligently observing the Juvenile as he/she figures out what it means to be strong and determined. Mr. and Mrs. did an amazing job providing for two kids at the nest. I will never know what came of the first fledge.
When I walk the river’s edge early in the morning, the earth is spongy and feels as though it has breathed in moisture somehow, magically, through the night. I no longer look down as I walk because every day for days I observed a snake silently slip into the brush as my foot fell onto the path. I’d rather not see that anymore. Of all of the amazing creatures there are to enjoy, I have not yet learned an appreciation for snakes.
Birds, in training, are practicing skills of flight. For days, the Eastern Kingbirds, Cedar Waxwings and Wrens had taken to the higher canopy. But, since the smoke, they’ve been found in the lower branches, especially in the evenings.
Juvenile and Adult Cedar Waxwings.
American White Pelicans.
Osprey against smoke.
Juvenile House Wrens actively chittering for food.
Sometimes, when I get home and download my photographs…I see things I hadn’t noticed while snapping. The following two unfocused photographs speak to those surprises.
Yellow Warbler and Cedar Waxwing.
Berries and berry pickers have been in evidence at the river’s edge.
It has been a most amazing experience to watch the progression of life and death and life and death on the river, even through the brutal winter. The wildfires remind us how tenuous life is for all. The leaves, now turning gradually and the plants-gone-to-seed remind us of how quickly everything changes.