14 May 2018
Our good friend Sandye Moores had indicated that she had not seen a Bobolink (Dolichonxy oryzivorus) in a while so we offered to take her to our friend's Century Farm where we knew she would be able to connect with this bird.
It was a beautiful, warm sunny morning with great light and the birds were rejoicing in the conditions as much as we were. Female Bobolinks have not yet returned from South America but the males are busy claiming territory and getting ready for their potential mates to arrive. It is a magical scene to see these ardent suitors fluttering over the grassland uttering their melodic bubbling song.
Sandye was enchanted. We all were enchanted. Nothing can possibly surpass the joy of being surrounded by the beauty and timeless rhythm of the natural world. We were at one with it.
I was at once thrilled with the opportunity that we have at this farm to observe grassland birds in undisturbed meadows, while simultaneously realizing that this is an endangered habitat, with ever more of it being paved over to satisfy the rapacious need of humans for more land for our houses, cities, shopping malls and parking lots. Surely at some point we have to come to our senses and realize that other organisms have a right to their place on earth too, and that we are ultimately sewing the seeds of our own demise.
A pair of Northern Ravens (Corvus corax) have nested for several years on an old silo on an adjacent farm and we saw a raven pursuing an American Crow (Corvus brachyrynchos) which was carrying food. They swooped and twisted, keeping pace with each other, with the crow always managing to stay ahead of the raven, food intact in its bill. Suddenly a second crow arrived on the scene, followed in short order by a third, and now the tables were turned. The three crows set off in pursuit of the raven. We wished that Franc had been with us, for with his skill and photographic equipment, he would have captured this drama. The pictures etched in our mind will have to suffice - and perhaps they are the best pictures of all.
Another enchanting denizen of the grassland is the Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) and there were many of them.
I don't know whether it is fanciful on my part but it seems as though these little birds are far more confiding at the farm than they are elsewhere. They seem quite unconcerned when we approach them at close distance. Perhaps they know that at this enlightened spot humans are their friends.
I feel bound to say that Sandye, there to see Bobolinks, was gobsmacked by everything she saw and displayed her joy in the most visible fashion. It was indeed a pleasure to be out with her.
Our friends have put out their hummingbird and oriole feeders up near the house and this female Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilocus colubris) was taking advantage of a free meal.
Sandye and I had a front row seat.
And the Baltimore Orioles (Icterus galbula) were anxious to get to the feeders too.
And what would an old barn on a Century Farm be without a colony of Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica)?
There are several active nests but on this occasion at least we decided not to peer in on them. Let them go about their business in peace.
As always our thanks go out to our wise and caring friends who permit the birds to prosper and allow birders like us to enjoy them. Beatification is their due!