Thursday, May 9, 2019

Birds and Trees and Blue Skies ... and Flowers!

How did it get to be nearly mid-May, and me not having blogged since mid-March? I've been taking walks and rides and photos galore, but somehow never found the time to post them until now.

So grab a snack (something sustaining) and a large cup of whatever you like best to drink, because this here blog post is one epic batch of photos, taking us from the still-icy lakes of late March, through April's first tentative leafings-out, right up to the first flowers of May. (Glorious May!)

Late March Ride

Woolly bear braving the icy March winds:


Tallulah looks out at the opening lake:


There's still ice to be seen, but at least it's receding:


Shadow shot!


Last Day of March: Evening Walk to the Park

This walk was a bird-watcher's delight. First, a pair of bald eagles swooped over the path. By the time I got my camera out and focused, they were behind the trees and heading out over the lake:


I looked to my left and saw a Great Blue Heron standing by the water's edge:


I climbed onto a little point of land, and saw that one of the bald eagles was now perched in a tree, looking lordly and noble (as eagles are wont to do):


A pair of loons and a female merganser (I think), paddled by below:


Around a bend in the shore was another heron:


A seagull stepped daintily across the ice in the middle of the lake:


On the way home, I saw a robin huddled on a telephone wire:


Not to be outdone, a squirrel posed in silhouette against the evening clouds:


A beautiful evening walk.

First Ride of April

A cloudy, cold, and grey-skied ride, in which Tallulah kept a careful watch for turtles on the road, but saw none.


We did, however, see a flock of blackbirds:


More Birds at the Park

It's always fun when the pelicans show up on the lake in spring; they're so large and somehow comical-looking. Here's one hanging out with some loons:


Early April Walk

As seen above, April isn't all blue skies. When it's too cold or rainy to ride, I solace myself with walks to the park or to the prairie restoration project. The way to the latter takes me past the marshy lake-around-the-corner, beloved haunt of red-winged blackbirds, who perch on the cattails and swell with their song the uncertain voice of spring.


Robins too give assurance of the changing season...


 ...as do the tiny signs of new life breaking out of the cold ground.


First Ride-to-Work of the Year

In which I saw a flock of turkeys, but managed to get a good photo of only one:


And marvelled at bright fountains of willow-fronds shining against a deep-blue morning sky:


Meanwhile, Winter Hasn't Given Up Yet

Sigh. This too is April in Wisconsin:


Mid-April: Spring Makes a Comeback

Another walk to the park, where I see some water birds I can't identify (possibly buffleheads?):


And marvel at a moonrise framed by maple blossom:


Listen to the loud call of this unknown bird (I really need to learn more bird varieties):


Snap photos of mysterious buds:


And walk home to the sleepy song of blackbirds settling down for the night:


Mid-April Ride

This is the time of year I start to long for wildflowers. I stop by a certain marsh, hoping to see Marsh Marigolds, but all I find is skunk cabbage:


A few miles later, a far more exciting find:


An osprey's nest! The first I've ever seen. The birds are huge, about the same size as bald eagles, but their nest is rounder and more compact. (Many thanks to my sister for identifying the birds for me.)


A few miles farther on, I pass a barnyard full of ewes and adorable bleating lambs:


This is my longest ride of the season so far. It takes me up to the high prairie, then down again into swiftly-greening valleys....


.... and past a favourite creek:


A little farther on, I pass a ground squirrel sitting in the sun by the side of the road. I slowly turn the bike around, getting out my camera, and pass him again to snap his photo, just before he dives into his hole and disappears.


And the Next Day, the Sun is Still Shining...

Tallulah and I head out for another ride, this time to a nearby lake, where we glory in the sparkle of sunlight on the (finally ice-free) water:


Honeysuckle leaves are sprouting:


The wind nudges the water into a succession of silken ripples:


And tiny shells, smaller than my fingernail, lie in the gravel:



The way home takes us past a favourite barn:


Last Week of April

More sunny days make for beautiful riding weather:


Dainty blossoms hang from maple trees:


A scarf of cloud floats across the sky behind a favourite oak:


And a herd of deer grazes in a farmer's field:


Another Ride to Work

Wild geese have taken over a stretch of the river trail, but scurry away at my approach:


Stopped by a train on my way home that evening:


Suddenly, it's May!

As if by magic, wildflowers appear. Dandelions and violets pop up in the lawn, and garlic mustard blooms by the side of the road.

On my next ride to work, I see tiny stellaria blooming in the grass by the river trail:


And pennycress:


The week before, the river was in flood, and the far banks were covered in water. This week the water is down and the dry grass is once again visible:


My evening ride home takes me past a picturesque barn:


There have been a few more May rides, but I'll save them for another post. :)

~

In other news, I've been working hard on The Book. Pattern revision is taking much longer than I expected, but progress is  s l o w l y  being made. I will be so glad when it's finished. (If it ever gets finished....)

A belated happy May to you all!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

21 comments:

  1. Here you are! :-) I have missed you. It's lovely to see that you have blue skies and flowers all around. All the best Regula

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    1. Thank you, Regula! We've had lots of cloudy skies too, but I try to take mostly sunny photos. :) Hope you are having a pleasant spring.

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  2. Beautiful scenes from your rides and walks. I love seeing such a wide variety of birds. My favorite photos are the seagull on ice and the moon with maple blossom. :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Tammy! There were several seagulls walking on the ice that evening - it seemed incongruous somehow, as I tend to associate seagulls with warm weather. :)

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  3. Lovely! So happy you have been working on a book! I will be your first customer! Well, one of the first anyway!😊 I would have been so pleased to see the ospreys in their nest! They do a live feed every year from Maine of one and it has been fun to see it. We saw an osprey once at Arabia Mountain,what a sight! I think it should be our national synbol, sorry I do! It's late for me, I am battling poison ivy. You just can't believe the itch! Do You have it in Wisconsin? Could your unknown bird be a meadowlark? The yellow can be hard to see against the sun. Speaking of son, haha, Christopher put the Merlin app on my phone, check it out! Sorry my comment so long! So long! 😊

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    1. Oh no - so sorry to hear you have poison ivy! We have that here too - I once took some photos of the blossoms, not knowing what they were. Luckily I didn't touch it. Hope yours clears up soon.
      I don't think the bird was a meadowlark - I just looked those up and listened to a recording of their call, and it doesn't match.
      It was a real thrill to find that osprey's nest and see both the parents on it. :)

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  4. Your unknown bird, the wing looks like it could have been a red bellied woodpecker perhaps? Tell us how it sounded! You can look at the Cornell website and Audubon website for bird sounds also. I just identified a great crested flycatcher myself, heard it before I saw it!! Made my day.

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    1. One of the woodpecker calls does sound a bit like this bird's call. I thought woodpeckers usually clung to the trunk of trees? This one was perching on a branch. Hmmm....

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  5. I think you've been on your bike more than me!!! I love the photo accounts of your rides. And it's great to see Tallulah again, too! I hope spring is now here to stay for both of us. And I wish we could ride together again. Perhaps one day...

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    1. I think I've got about 250 miles under my belt so far - not much compared to some years, but better than the last couple of years at this time! I wish we could ride together too.

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  6. So very good to hear from you again. I was getting worried! We are so ready for warmth here in Lake Geneva! Things are sprouting! Please no more snow!

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    1. Thanks kathy! I hope it warms up for all of us soon. It's been pretty cold up till now - still having frost this week. :\
      Hope you and the Fireman are well!

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  7. Nice rides and photos. Those ducks definitely look like buffleheads to me. I see someone suggested a red-bellied woodpecker for the mystery calling bird. A woodpecker was my first hunch too. Here's a link to a video of a calling red-bellied. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-bellied_Woodpecker/sounds
    The Book will get done! It will!

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    1. Thanks Amy! Yes, one of those calls did sound something like the bird I saw. (I should have just taken a short video of it to capture the sound - didn't think of that at the time.) I didn't hear any drumming, though - that would have helped with the ID. Ah well.
      Thanks for the book encouragement. :)

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  8. My goodness.. you've seen so many varieties of wildlife on your rides! That little striped critter is what we call Chipmunks. We have Osprey and Bald Eagles here in the Columbia River Gorge, too. Enjoy your rides. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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    1. Re the chipmunk - I always thought chipmunks and ground squirrels were pretty much the same thing, but I looked it up just now and found that they're not! You're right, it's a chipmunk. He had a little hole there by the side of the road, which is another reason I was thinking ground squirrel.

      Aren't the raptors gorgeous? I'm very lucky in that I get to see Bald Eagles all the time - the population here has really surged in the last couple of years. But Ospreys were new to me. The nest is way larger than it looks in the photos, and visible from a very long way off. Power companies here put platforms up on the towers to encourage the Ospreys to nest.

      Hugs back! :)

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  9. We have a ton of osprey's around here, they are indeed big birds. I am so excited about the book, take your time because I will be thrilled to see it when it is all done. Wishing you a beautiful ride this weekend.

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  10. So many lovely pictures as always :-). Great to see the fluctuation of the seasons!

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    1. Thanks Ginny! How are you? Hope your Spring has been pleasant so far. :)

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  11. I don't read around and comment nearly as often as I used to, but it's time. THANK YOU for sharing your photos and words. So very much beauty.

    I find it fascinating that so many of the species you see in your neck of the woods, I also see in mine (southeastern Virginia)--even though we have VERY different winter/spring and spring/summer conditions. Wild things are pretty adaptable!

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    1. Thank you for those kind words! (I've been very remiss at blogreading myself, and at commenting too.)

      It is interesting to see how many growing things flourish across various climate zones. And yet many of the things that grow here don't grow in California (SoCal at least). Why is that, I wonder?

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