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My Big Day

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I hope I never forget May 10, 2014. I was itching for a long run. And it is the height of migration. So I left the house at 7 AM and headed out our paved county road with good ol' Baker. It was definitely threatening rain, but we weren't skeert. I was diggin' the spring skies. I hadn't had a thing to eat or drink. I wasn't really planning to be out until 12:30. Dang, I was hungry by 12:30. Could have eaten my left arm. 

Bacon, for his part, was diggin' the squirtles. I think he looks like Batman in this shot. This photo also reveals why I have poison ivy all up and down my arms. He romps through it, I hug him, c'est voila. Every durn spring. About to wash him yet again. But it doesn't help. I still get it off him. I can't not hug him. He's my little man, solid muscle and goodwill and the purest of uncomplicated loves.

This "long run" was a thinly disguised, on-foot-only Big Day. Which I vastly prefer to the kind where you climb in and out of a car all day. Those are fun, too, but ever so much more tiring. I took my tiny Vortex Viper binoculars, which have gotten out of alignment somehow. I can't give them up long enough to get them fixed, dammit. So getting them on a warbler in dim rainlight and deciding what I'm seeing mostly through one eyepiece is a challenge most extreme. 

Obviously, there will be no warbler photos in this post, since I can't haul the big rig and "run." 

But it was a delicious opportunity to use my ears. I flippin' love my ears. 
Had 44 species before I even made it out the driveway to our mailbox. Oh yeah. It was going to be a Good Day. I could hear the haunting tsit tsit tsit tsit of a blackpoll. Blackburnian, northern parula and two Cape May warblers greeted me halfway down the driveway. I fought to get looks at them all, especially the Cape May, since I hear that bird sing once a year if I'm lucky. But yep, I was right--Cape May. Witsee witsee see!
Chestnut-sided warblers were jingling everywhere. It was divine. What a wonderful bird to be surrounded by. Speaking of which, I couldn't get away from the galloping trree trree trrree of Kentucky warblers. Just as common as hoodeds around here in these Appalachian foothills. Just harder to get to, deeper in the woods, they are. Worm-eating warbler, a dry trill down the east slope.

I let the birds pull me on. If I run to the pond, I'll get this...Ahh!! Warbling vireos! I'd never heard them there before. Meadowlarks. A great blue heron flapping over, a lucky silent sighting. Orchard oriole, a young male, green with a black beard, impersonating a bobolink. My heart almost stopped when I first heard it. But no, it was that beautiful oriole. No Bobo for me.

I recorded it on my iPhone. Baker chased a bunneh into this barn. There was a bunneh-sized hole that the bunneh obviously knew all about. I was glad there was not a Chet-sized hole after that pursuit.

Offisa Pupp. 
Keepin' all the bad little bunnehs in line. 

We passed the Funks' house, and the Funks' hens were out and clucking on the lawn. Chet came to attention, trying to figure out what these were, and whether they were chaseable.

I gave him a low warning. Chet. Those are Mether's Birds. You leave them be. Leave them BE.

He looked longingly at them, knowing what fun it would be to race at them and scatter them, but also knowing that there would be a certain spanking in it. He knows the word "bird" and coupled with "Mether's," well, that's double off-limits. You can tell he wants to chase them by his little turd-tail, the way it's sticking straight out. But he was an excellent boy and he left them alone. 

Dogs can project their thoughts into the future and anticipate consequences. Hence, they can take warnings. Even without a lead. Most of the time.

The beautiful treeo I call The Three Graces, each one doing her own dance. The droopy one on the right, my favorite, and last to leaf out. 
Each tree has its own spirit. If anyone ever cut these down, a part of me would die with them. I love them so, the way they change through the seasons, with every change of light. I marvel that they were ever spared in the first place. Line trees, perhaps. 

Sometimes I muse about proposing my favorite trees and decrepit buildings as Washington County Aesthetic Landmarks.  Of high aesthetic significance. Irreplaceable. Do not remove. Or this woman dies.

The Grace on the far right is a black tupelo. I just identified her by her loose flower clusters today.  My favorite of the bunch, a bit quirky.


actually, I'm not generally a huge fan of photos in blogposts (I'm an oddball and a word-lover), but I always make an exception in your case Julie, and this is yet another exquisite example of your seamless, beautiful integration of words with pics!

I just love you blogs ! Darlene Shamblin

Posted by Anonymous May 13, 2014 at 6:36 AM

Definitely an over-the-top blog. Thanks for taking us along on your day. But I'm SOO jealous. I hardly know any of the warbler songs and they don't stay around enough for me to learn them. Wish I had your audial memory.

I'm really enjoying the tales of your Big Day. Some cute Chet pictures never hurt either! :)

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