Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Team Cat & Crew

A Lone Starling Singing Like a Diva
Four Turtles on the Log
No Cats Allowed Here
Big Beauty for A small Place
Companionable Robins
Rolling in the Peat
The Resident Barn Cat
What is bird-watching if not to be shared with others?

My biggest delight in life is to have another living soul seated next me with our eyes fixed on birds. My eldest got me started in birding, and Elmira Pond has been my training ground. I've learned that ducks exist beyond mallards; that migrators come and go; and that a healthy pond will support a variety of life.

As a nature writer, I observe differently than a scientist does. I'm not interested in numbers and markings. I'm fascinated by what I can learn about human behavior in context and contrast to nature at large. When I observe and write prose, I connect to the world around me. One day, I will share this type of writer's observation and nature writing with others.

For today, I share it with a cat and other birds.

Cats are noted predators of birds. I once watched a cat stalking on Elmira Pond and found it hunting mice or moles. Cats are welcome to that food source. I've yet to find any feathers in the barn cat's barn. I've found plenty of mice and mole carcasses. We hope to keep this trend going.

When I settle in with binoculars, camera and coffee, Bootsy the resident barn cat loudly announces her intention to watch with me. It's good to have a companion. She pads across my lap, hooking claws ever-so-lovingly into my thighs before she settles. Bootsy is attentive and watches with me.

The robins dare to come close, flitting to the fence to chatter at us. They are great companions, too. Out on the pond, turtles rise to sun on the mostly submerged log. In summer, that log is a favorite spot for Blue Heron to pick at his molting feathers or for Mama Merganser to soak up sun rays. For now, the turtles get first sitting.

I can hear the birds I can't see. Chickadees call from tree to tree and the shrill cry of a killdeer echos across the pond in the morning and evening. A songbird catches my attention and I try to take a photo. I'm disappointed that it is a starling. For all the huge flocks they fly in, I only see small groups migrating.

One evening a small flock of unidentified birds flew overhead. Two stragglers were so tired that they wobbled like butterflies, but followed nonetheless. Great blue herons fly up and down the valley Elmira Ponds sits in every morning and evening. Our resident Blue Heron has a mate elsewhere. Elmira Pond is his bachelor pad. After he's done his duty, I'll see more of him.

We BBQ more now that the birds are flocking to and thru the area. Rain drives us out some nights and the pond level rises and recedes with each storm or return of sunshine. We are a crew of one cat, one writer and many visitors. Perhaps one day you will join us here.

This is part of a March Madness Series. Vote for your favorite team!

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