Sunday, April 26, 2009

FIRST WARBLER!

Spring’s migrating warblers are a treetop treasure—mysterious, dazzling, at once filling your eyes and ears with the vernal joys of the season. I began expecting them in early-April, watching and listening…hoping to confirm in my heart what I know in my head—that in this age of great uncertainty some things can still be counted on to follow the ancient rhythms. Spring’s passing warblers are messengers of reassurance. When I heard an odd trill yesterday morning, followed by a sharp chup, chup, the sound was both foreign and familiar—not something I’d been hearing recently, but something I’d heard before. It’s the same way every year…though I’ve been waiting and anticipating the call, I’m still surprised when I hear it, caught off guard. The bird was flitting through the top of a greening hackberry which leans over the river. I’m not very good at instantly identifying warblers, but this one was pretty easy thanks to the bright yellow patch on the top of the back at the base of the tail—yellow-rumped. A few yellow-rumped warblers actually winter over in Ohio, though I’ve never seen one. Most yellow-rumps, however, winter in the southern half of the U.S. They spend their summer in the north, from upper Michigan throughout Canada. During each of the springs I've witnessed here along the river, the yellow-rumped has been the first warbler to show up. Yesterday was one of those spectacular spring days April occasionally serves up—temperatures in the low-80s, a cloudless sky so crisply blue that it looks newly minted. I’d spent the early part of the morning working at the rear of the cottage on a patio I’m building. I’d just poured a cup of coffee and taken a seat in the rocker on the deck overlooking the river when the warbler appeared. I hadn’t intended to linger… But my philosophy allows that life is short. Work and responsibility are important—but so are such things as rivers sparkling in the sun, wildflowers blooming along the banks, and warblers flitting about like feathered jewels in the nearby trees. So I went back inside momentarily for camera, binoculars, and the coffee thermos, then resettled myself in the rocking chair. A man has to consider all priorities.

22 comments:

Jenn Jilks said...

Don't that beat all! A yellow rumped warbler! You have a keen eye! Nothing so spectacular in Muskoka. Mind you, we've had rain for days, thunder boomers and I have not been inclined to go outdoors!

Val said...

"A man has to consider all priorities."

Indeed.

And what may be a priority in one moment can and should be fluid enough to change at any given moment because.... after all, life IS short... and the only moment we're guaranteed is this one.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jenn…

As pretty a little bird as you could ask!

We're to have rain on Tuesday—so maybe you'll get some nice days.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Val…

We do live "right now" and there are no guarantees. So warbler watching is—in my book—just as important as building patios. And do believe you need to be ready to go with the flow.

Richard said...

Think you may be slightly ahead of me in the migration. Haven't seen any warblers yet but the Yellow-headed Blackbirds have moved in in large numbers. The rest of the birds can't be far behind.

Gail said...

Hey Grizz-
Huh, amazing -photos and words. Early this morning I put the shelled peanuts out (thanks again to Jill), and I waited quietly, coffee in hand. I got distracted by chores and then noticed my friends had arrived for breakfast. I stopped my cleaning and organizing and simply watched in earnest and joy. -

I think I came up with a new name for you - "King of the river-woods"

You stand/sit humble and proud over the land aware of it's needs and natural potential - you inspire and feed, mourn and delight - know and learn - change and remain firm - as part of a greater service to all life - you are intimate with all subjects and yet honor privacy and surprise - while honoring uniqueness. nature is your village and you are nature's hope simply by how you live. Who are you?

Love Gail
peace.....

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Richard…

They're a'comin'! Though I haven't see a warbler yet today. But things are really heating up here. Let me know when you see your first warbler.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

Well, those are some mighty lovely and inspiring words to try and live up to—though I assure you, I'm not there yet.

Who am I? Well, you've pretty much covered a lot of me. I'm complicated in a simple sort of way. I try to live well and good; to be a person I'm not ashamed to know and be and represent. To live a spiritual, intellectual, and physical life, in balance, savoring time.

The family motto is, translated from the Gallic: With Courage/With Honor/With Compassion.

On my best days, I try to come as close as I can…

giggles said...

I went out Friday with Fudgelady, after a delightful breakfast ....to a state park close by...Evansburg. I have never in my life seen to many small yellow and black flitty-aroundy-thingys!!!!! I saw what I believe to be a yellow rumped also... and maybe yellow-throated and/or black-throated green warblers, as well as some olive gray green small wonders.... But while I can recognize the usual backyard songbird suspects, I was totally overwhelmed and clueless

... But OH MY GOODNESS!! It is the best day I have ever had looking at birds..... I wish you more success and I will get out more this spring too.... It was fabulous!!!!!!!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Giggles…

Warblers make bird-watching fools of us all! I know a fellow who lives in Arizona and comes to southeastern-Ohio's hill country every spring for a month—his entire vacation—to watch warblers.

And don't worry about learning them all on sight or sound—though a lot of serious bird-watchers do; I've been staring up at these tiny jewels flitting through the treetops all my life and still have to dig the book out more than half the time. I just all but give up during the fall migration.

Now, wait 'til you see a male prothonotary up close. That bird will simply take your breath away!

Jain said...

Fabulous pictures!

Sydney said...

Ah, and those priorities are the right ones, in my humble opinion. A beautiful read!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jain…

Didn't see a single warbler yesterday—though I spent all of it outside and was keeping a pretty good eye on the trees along the river. I'll be looking again today…

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Sydney…

Thank you. And glad you agree on the priorities—life is too short to miss out on the things you deem important…warblers among them.

Jayne said...

I love your philosophy. :c) Indeed, what could be more important in the moment?

Gail said...

Hi Grizz-

Ya, I know as best I can via this forum much of what you wrote - and as you mentioned - I tributed you with as well. The "who are you?" line was more of a wonder or a perplexity because your 'big-ole-gentle-self' is SO nice, as in flawless. Oh this forum is so hard to make a point effectively - geesh. It's all good though, I just can't seem t write/say what I mean.

Oh well. :-)

It is SO beautiful out today - noisy with nature's chatter - coffee by the brook was stimulating - and the beavers are building their dam. Why do they do that, I wonder? Each morning there is a little more "stuff" going across the brook - amazing.

Peace and love
Gail

Carolyn H said...

Griz: cool! The butterbutts are around my cabin, too.

Carolyn H.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jayne…

Sometimes I simply sit and enjoy, without guilt over the press of responsibility and schedule—because if such a day in April can't be enjoyed…why bother?

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

It's another lovely day here, too—though windy. I plan on some serious do-nothing outside time.

There are a few beaver here in this river. I saw one the year I moved in, and another last summer a time or two. They have a lodge about a mile upstream in a pond that's adjacent to the stream. (BTW, they build dams, at least in part so it is claimed, to raise the water level for easier swimming, added security to their bank dens…though this is only our human interpretation. The beavers may actually fiddle with dam building because they're frustrated engineers, or for some purpose well beyond our grasp.)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Carolyn…

Butterbutts! Ha, I love it! Never heard them called that, but it's great. I'm going to get my stiff, sore carcass out in just a few minutes and try to spot a few more butterbutts—and any of the cousins they may bring along.

Floral Still Life said...

I wouldn't even know what to look for in warblers! I did see a flock of cedar waxwings the other day in our evergreen tree.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Floral…

I'm mostly perplexed by in-the-field warbler identification, too. Mostly they're just little gray or little yellow jobs, maybe reddish or bluish, striped, streaked, or not. If I saw them more often I could get some better at their IDs…but probably not a whole lot better.

I'm not quite a dog too old to learn a new trick—but I am a mature dog whose trick learning is better done in smaller, less confusing doses.