Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Birds before a Storm

On my way to Pheasant Branch, I saw dark clouds to the west as soon as I got on HWY Q. Rather than turn around, I decided it would be nice to stand in the field by the parking lot and feel the wind and the first few drops of rain against my body. I listened for birds through the rumbling of distant thunder. I watched two Chipping Sparrows take cover beneath some shrubs as the west winds arrived. An Eastern Meadowlark sang just yards away and Willow Flycatchers were calling in the scrubby patch near the road where a few trees stand. Common Yellowthroats and Yellow Warblers urgently dashed around the field, but the reason remains a secret they alone share – perhaps carrying food for nestlings already; precious little secrets. I inadvertently startled a Song Sparrow – it flew to a nearby perch and scolded me. A high-altitude flock of Ring-billed Gulls glided eastward ahead of the storm; their white bodies and wing beats stood out like flickering little dots against the deep blue masses of precipitation.

Willow Flycatcher © 2008 Mike McDowell

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