Spring 2014

The groundhog has spoken and says six more weeks of winter, while most of us are wishing and hoping for an early spring.  Spring is a festive time of the year, with spring wildflowers blooming and new grass sprouting, coloring the landscape once again.

While we move into the last official 30 plus days of winter there have been subtle hints left here and there, that spring is not far off.  I look to the sky, looking for birds to tell me if they are in their annual spring migration pattern.  The rough legged hawk, that came down from the tundra for the winter to stay, is nowhere to be found now.  Did he move over to another valley? Or has he begun his flight back to the tundra? I wonder.

The majestic Trumpeter Swans are no longer flying overhead everyday looking for safe landing spaces on a unfrozen section of the river like they did all winter.  A few will stay all year around, but most will head back to the tundra to raise their families.

The Gray’s Partridge have since disappeared too.  I wonder where they have moved to for the spring, summer and fall, as I have yet to see them any other place, except during the winter, seeking shelter among the evergreen trees.  They are a joyful bird to watch, as they bury themselves in the snow, and then explode out of the snow in full flight, startling the non-observant passerby.

Yesterday, I saw for the first time in many weeks if not months, four Canada Geese flying overhead and then a lone Drake Mallard Duck, looking somewhat lost as he followed the geese.  Then today another wonderful sight took place, a flock of 30 or so Mallards flew overhead, then circled and found a resting spot on the river.  To much my surprised, four Canada Geese landed on the river too.  It made me wonder if these were the same geese I saw yesterday and would they be staying until fall? I think of the days not to far long ago, that every morning I would hear the cackling of the geese to start my day off.

Another beautiful chorus I long to hear again this spring is the song of the Sandhill Crane.  The Crane’s song is distinctive and yet pleasant; a song one would never forget.  This magnificent bird hasn’t really change much since their creation during the Pleistocene  Era.  I wonder how many people know the proper name to a baby crane? And that would be a “colt” of all things.

I know sit and watch the Ravens, high above in the sky, start their courtship displays.  Flying back and forth with no care who just might be watching them.  I watch for Bald Eagles too, as I begin to see more and more of them and wonder if they will begin nesting soon?

Time marches on and I wait.  I wait for the first arrival of the American Robin and the Mountain Bluebird to tell me spring is upon us and the wildflowers will start blooming soon and green grass will soon be forth coming.  There will be many other birds arriving too, that I have not seen in a while.  One of my favorites is the American Kestrel, as I enjoy watching them hovering above, catching grasshoppers and voles.

I sit and wait now, waiting for my feathered friends to tell me spring has arrived.

Today, 16 February 2014, on my morning walk by the river, thinking mostly about the draft of Spring that I made last night, I see a Cedar Waxwing flying by.  Then another bird flies by, and I have to look closely, because am I day dreaming or wishing? Yet, one can not mistake the orange to reddish belly of an American Robin.  I smile at the sight.  My smile gets bigger as I not only see one Robin, I see five Robins.  I continue my journey home now, thinking and wondering, is this a tease, as the weather still looks harsh and frightful in the mountains.  My mind is wandering with thoughts and ideas now.

Now another surprise as I arrive home, there is a flock of Robins mingling around my house.  I am sure they were busy looking for a worm or two to fill their empty stomachs with.  I tell myself, they are here early this year.  I wasn’t really expecting their arrival until March.  So I ask myself again is this a tease that Spring just might be around the corner?  I take a deep breath to clear my mind, and say now I must wait for the Mountain Bluebird to arrive and tell me spring is on its way.

I wait now for the arrival of the Mountain Bluebird to officially announce Spring is on its way.

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