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Spring Revels

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bill of the Birds, Non Birding Bill, Chet Baker, Birdchick, and Liam trooping through Gallagher's Fork

Egad, it's so beautiful here, and birds are starting to pour in. Arriving April 13: wood thrush, ruby-crowned kinglet, and Louisiana waterthrush. Hearing the sweet song of the waterthrush ringing through the stream valleys floods through my soul, fills me up and rinses me out all at once. I suspect the waterthrushes have been here for some time, because one I saw today was gathering dead leaves, doubtless for her well-concealed nest. Waterthrushes make a porch of leaves beneath and in front of their cup nests, and the whole affair looks like a bunch of flood debris lodged in a crevice beneath tree roots or in an earthen bank, until you see the little tail-bobber sneak in there.
We trooped down to Beechy Crash today, once the enchanted land of icecaves and stalactites, but today the wildflowers reigned, and the woods floor was carpeted with spring beauties and trout lily, Virginia waterleaf, blue cohosh, hepatica, Dutchman's breeches, dentaria, purple cress and the first white trillium of the year. The sun filtered strongly through the bare branches, and it was clear that the wildflowers are all rushing to leaf out and bloom before the leafy canopy cuts off their juice.Trout lily nodding in agreement.
Baker, sitting on said trout lily only a few minutes later. You were looking at this? Allow me to obscure it for you.
Spring sky, through last year's vireo nest.
Walking fern, Camptosorus rhizophyllus, rediscovered on a drippy ledge where I'd found it 14 years ago and looked fruitlessly for it ever since. It had walked several yards from where I first found it. Walking fern "walks" by sending out a long tapered leaf, with the amazing ability to root and form a new plant at its tip! It's a very primitive plant; there are only two species in its family in North America. The other is the odd little climbing Hartford fern, which I've seen only once in my life. Those are liverworts on the rocks around it. My sister was once obsessed with liverworts.
Spring beauties, and a piece of an old enameled stockpot, telling of former habitation in these woods
Henry's elfin, Incisalia henrici, a rather rare and local butterfly whose broodplant is redbud (Cercis canadensis). They're low-flying, confiding, and territorial, which makes them pretty easy to photograph, this lousy picture notwithstanding. They have the endearing hairstreak and elfin habit of rubbing their hindwings together, as though plotting their next stunt to lose the photographer.
Spring creeping up Goss' Fork
Coming up the hill to home. Bird houses outnumber people houses on our farm, 20 to 1.


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