My world this morning is one of green and gray. A damp and muggy fog has settled over the point, blurring lines and coating everything with dew drops. The flowers in my yard glisten as if with sweat, yet it does not keep the hungry bees from seeking their nectar. They cling to the flowerheads as if drunk, afraid to fly with moist wings and chill air. A lone hummingbird flies to the feeder to sip her own ready supply of nectar. Last night we saw one flitting about under the eaves, looking for tiny spiders under the safety of the gutters and in the corners of the windows. These spiders are her protein source, for herself, or perhaps nestlings she has hidden somewhere nearby.
My yard has become an eastern jungle with vines growing wildly everywhere. Dogberry bushes ring the yard with glistening red fruit. I am curious to see if any birds will eat these, there is so much abundance now. I hear and see the Cedar Waxwings flying through my yard. As an insect and fruit eating bird, they have no lack of food at the moment. It will be a much different story come winter, though there are a number of fruit laden trees and bushes around here to feed them long after the snow has piled up.
I have had a Broad-winged Hawk hunting my feeder for the past few days. Yesterday morning it flew out of the trees directly across from my backdoor when I first went out in the morning. Its broad wings pumped frantically as it flew across the front yard, and even without binoculars I could see the wide white band in its black and white banded tail. This morning I experienced the same thing again. After exiting through the backdoor I walked around the front of the house to check the feeders on the other side. Suddenly the hawk flew through the trees on that side of the yard and disappeared into the woods. I noted that its silhouette is much chunkier than the slim and nimble Cooper’s Hawks are that hunt my feeders in winter here and when I lived in Arizona. My family of crows is still around filling the air with their cries. They are not here all day long now, but make regular stops to see if any seed has dropped and they surprise me with their willingness to eat even the tiniest millet that has fallen from the tube feeders, knocked loose by sparrows and finches.
In the top of the old spruce by the driveway various birds perch at various times. It is naked at the top for some reason and the birds love it as a gathering and lookout spot. I have seen everything from the flickers and flycatchers up there, to the smallest sparrow and finch. This morning a family of House Finches collected on the different small twigs with the fledgling doing their begging thing fluttering their wings, mouths agape and crying piteously. The two parents seemed weary by it all and soon flew them down to one of my feeders as if to say, “Feed yourselves!” I had a nice surprise one day last week when I looked out the window early in the morning to see a different silhouette up there. After a look through my binoculars I was delighted to find an Eastern Kingbird perched on the highest point. As I was inside the house, I don’t know how it saw me, but it was as if it knew I was looking at it and it took off flying across the yard. The white tipped tail was easily seen and I added bird number 96 to my Yard List! Will I get four more species before the year is out and finally have a 100 species yard?
With migration over and all the other early summer activities, including the Adams Road Race and visits from friends, I finally feel like I can settle into this place and start to live here. I have been so distracted by birds and adventures. Now I get to think about what my new life is like and where I want to go from here. There are days when I love this land and this place, and days when I long for the desert and the birds of Arizona. As always, I find the humidity very hard to take and Gus doesn’t like the flying insects, like mosquitoes and black flies. In the winter we will all complain about the snow and cold, because that is what we do in Maine! Yet, I know that winter holds its own beauty, as do all the seasons.
For now I am enjoying this new life I am living. Things are always changing. Miss Blossom is getting old and I spent all day last Thursday at a veterinary specialist having diagnostic testing done. The end result is that she has an enlarged heart and we are waiting for an appointment with our new vet to find out what the treatment plan is.
I am still counting birds in my yard and at the boat launch. Last night the gray fox trotted across my path as I walked down to the bay to count birds. I have regular spots I count birds at, including Brunswick Landing and Wharton Point. I am trying to count birds at The Androscoggin River Bike and Pedestrian Trail here in Brunswick as only a handful of checklists have been submitted from that location. I am intrigued by this mighty river as it flows into Merrymeeting Bay. I am even more intrigued by Merrymeeting Bay and the unique geographical feature that it is. Expect to hear more from me about Merrymeeting Bay! As I sit here writing the rain has started to fall, and I must be off to the bird store for more thistle seed and a nut cylinder for my woodpeckers. They have totally consumed the last one I had out and I have not seen them in a few days. I love my woodpeckers and I want them to come back! For, what is a nest without birds?