Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wings of Change

Setting Off Bird Alarms
New King of the Pond--Kingbird
Barn Swallow Among the Knapweed
Evolution in Progress
Sporty Red Dragon Fly
Eating A Rabbit at My Garden Gate
The alarm wakes me. Not an alarm clock, but the persistent whistles of the tree birds, alarming the presence of a predator. The predator is a red-tailed hawk. Todd and I debate his age. I say he's newly fledged and lonely, hungry and harassed by pine siskins and a crazy cat bird that used to attack my window.

What remains constant on Elmira Pond are the wings of change. Migratory birds come and go like guests of a bed and breakfast. Like an inn-keeper I have my favorite guests--Blue Heron, the trio of osprey and now a red-tailed hawk.

But he is not the only new set of wings to show up. A kingbird has taken to circling the pond, and pausing on the fence or dead tree limb long enough to pose for my camera. As official pond paparazzi, I like the new arrival decked in black, gray and white. But I  notice a decline in tree swallows. Since fledging their nest boxes around my berries and garden, I see fewer hitting the pond in the evenings, leaving a wake of ferrie rings. Barn swallows have taken up residence among the knapweed I've been digging to no avail. Their nests are in the barns.

Damsel flies and dragon flies scurry in flight with such a sense of purpose like commuters on a subway. I almost expect to see them carrying little briefcases. They are too speedy for my lens, defying documentation until I glance a mating couple dangling from the leafy canopy of the apple tree. I have no idea how sexually combative these winged creatures are until I read the fascinating Dragonfly Mating Game. Evidently, winged evolution is unfolding all around me.

A brilliant red dragon fly with black iridescent wings pauses on a spent dandelion long enough for me to snap a shot. His wings seem mythical, something out of an elaborate storybook for children. I can understand why artists over the years have continued to capture these winged creatures in oils and stained glass. I feel surrounded by living art.

So the red-tailed hawk returns and I cannot worry that he is a hungry fledgling any more. He's sitting on the garden fencepost eating a rabbit. Turns out he is a garden guard. If only he could nab the buck eating my strawberry plants.

Another day, another drama as wings of change unfurl over Elmira Pond.

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