Yesterday was an exciting day.
Regular readers of my blog will remember Lily, Heather's baby, born seven weeks ago today. Due to COVID restrictions we had been unable to see this precious little girl, and that was about to be rectified. Heather had reached the point where she was comfortable outside so that we could get together, and at the same time she could renew her acquaintance with SpruceHaven which she had not visited this year, the site of many happy hours spent together banding birds.
It took a good deal of will not to hug them both, but we had a marvelous visit, all the while making sure to stay suitably apart.
We had given strict instructions to the Green Herons (Butorides virescens) to present themselves, to give Lily an appropriate welcome to the world of the naturalist, and they responded accordingly!
Lily had just arrived and was not looking too impressed just yet!
Mom placed her in her car seat while she put on the child carrier so that she could "wear" Lily as we walked around.
Are we all agreeing already that this is as adorable a baby as you have ever seen? And check out that hairdo!
I am happy to report, that in commemoration of Lily's visit, the Cliff Swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) revealed that they are feeding young in their nest. It was impossible to get a picture of the nestlings, but with binoculars we could clearly see them, mouths agape, waiting for the next food delivery.
This is a major event for us - our first ever record of Cliff Swallow as a breeding species at SpruceHaven. It was a day to rejoice in youngsters both human and avian!
With all this excitement Lily needed a nap.
A male American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) made sure not to burst into song and disturb her sleep.
As we meandered around there was much for Lily to see, in addition to enjoying warm sunshine, a gentle breeze and the comfort of mom's constant care and attention.
I wonder if she noticed a Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) on a Coneflower (Compositae spp)?
I have no doubt that she paid careful attention to the hundreds of Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) swooping and gliding over the Sanctuary Field feeding on myriad insects, and also perching on the tall vegetation.
These swallows have evidently massed here from the surrounding area, for their number far exceeded our resident population. Furthermore there were numerous swallows in the barn, many still with second broods in the nest. The pictures above do not reveal the scope of the Barn Swallow occupation of the grassland, but it was an impressive sight. Post-breeding Barn Swallows are known to roost in cattail marshes at night and it begs the question as to whether the Sanctuary Field yields a similar refuge.
SpruceHaven fledgling swallows are often content to line up along a pipe in the barn waiting for mom and dad to swoop by with food for them.
Here is the evidence of many hours of perching by a lot of demanding young Barn Swallows!
But enough of swallows and such. This is all about Lily.....well, Heather too! What a proud and happy mom she is!
Take another look at Lily. How many facial expressions can one little girl have?
I am still tired.
So don't bug me!
That feels better!
What does the presence of this little angel tell us about the world she has entered? If the future she will experience, and that of children around the world just like her, is to be welcoming and secure, surely we need no more incentive to mend our ways and become active in an effort to remediate the damage we have caused to the environment. Now is the time to reject plastics, now is the time to evolve towards renewable energy and sustainable agriculture and aquaculture. And perhaps most significantly of all, to stop electing politicians whose very ethic is antithetical to environmental stewardship. We have had more than enough of foul-mouthed misogynists, base ignoramuses, men (they are always men) with no social conscience, truth deniers, warmongers and lap dogs of industry. When we elect our politicians let's think of Lily, her future and her happiness. We owe it to all the Lilies of the world.
We love you, Lily!