Monday, April 11, 2011

Bird and Wildflower walk and a Dog ramble.

I will say this for Nashville's weather- once it finds a pattern it likes, it sticks to it. This winter it snowed every week. Now the wind blows 20 mph every day, and we have tornadoes every week. A week ago we had three tornadoes. Straight line winds took down three dozen trees at the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. And today we are under a tornado watch again.

Hummingbirds are not at my feeders yet though a few are back in Middle Tennessee. And since I found the Bignonia or Cross Vine blooming along the Greenway behind the Ensworth School, I expect the hummingbirds momentarily. I also found wild wisteria blooming. It, and the cross vine ,love to climb trees. Even weeds like the yellow oxalis and the wild mustard are wonderful to see along the path.

Today's migrants along the Little Harpeth River were 8 Common Yellowthroats, whose behavior I can only describe as "rollicking". They called their "witchity, witchety" song and chased each other from bush to bush. Too many wood warblers remain heard but not seen- but not the Yellow-throat. He will sit, with his little bandito black mask, right out in the open where everyone can see him.

I heard a Northern Parula warbler singing Saturday, and also some Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. But the most notable migrant yet was the solitary American Bittern trying to hide from us in the grass along the Greenway path. He was not 6 feet from us, and I think he would have stayed had the beagle not stood on his hind legs for a better look.. Alas- my camera was at home. Seeing the bittern took me back to 1961 and a marsh in a cow pasture at the old Haynes farm in North Charlestown, New Hampshire. I saw my first bittern there. But the American Bittern will not live in Tennessee. It is fly-over country for him.

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