|Mist Shrouds the Mountain Tops|
|Pastures Hide Killdeer and Blue Heron|
|Morning Traffic in the Rain|
|Wigeons Don't Mind the Wet and Wind|
|Snow Up High|
|Abandoned Pond Nest in Winter|
A killdeer is my morning tease. I can hear her shrill cry above the wind at my window, but I can't see her. I look with bare eyes and binoculars. Scanning the pasture, the pond's eastern edge and the overgrown dead grass of the Bluebird Ranch I don't glimpse her movement or flash of white underparts. But she continues to shrill, kill-deeah-dee-dee.
Other than the wind there seems to be no obvious threat to the killdeer's cry. Maybe she's just as bad at singing as I am and only sounds distressed. While I can't see her, I know she's plucking insects from the pastures. It's the favorite food this time of year and I welcome the diners.
Because we run horses here in the summer, our pastures look like they have a winter buzz cut. Fuzzy green new growth is barely showing. It will be another month before there's enough grass for the horses and by then the killdeer babies will have hatched. If there's a nest.
The birds of Elmira Pond are crafty at hiding their nests. This past winter, I stumbled across several of them, amazed that they even existed. The winter winds gusted other nests out of tall pines. Nests can be rebuilt; the builders are good at what they do. I just supply the materials--grass, mud, sticks and even loose strands of my own hair that I toss to the wind, "for the birds."
Blue heron stands across the pond from all the killdeer chatter. Between my vantage point and his, wigeons and geese float in the rain. Birds don't seem to mind. Already there are frogs on the pond--I started to hear peepers this week. At night, I step outside and peepers fill the night with calls. I know when a predator invades Elmira Pond because the peepers go silent. It's eerie when they do. So I feel safe out in the dark when I can hear them.
But this morning, they are potential breakfast. Blue Heron patiently waits like I do, standing still, waiting for that final percolation of the coffee pot. Then I dive in, filling my mug, savoring the heat and aroma as if it were my first taste after a long migratory flight.
The exposed log in the pond--alternately it is the basking spot for many--holds five turtles this morning. I wonder what rain on turtle-shell sounds like and if the turtles enjoy the drumming as much as I do when it pummels the metal roof of my house. Soothing, rhythmic sounds to accompany the wind.