As the sky lightened, the colors spread along the horizon. I had an extra layer on under the windbreaker. I walked down the road towards the 4-H camp. I set the camera and the tripod down 20 yards from the end of the road and waited. The morning had started at 2 am. There was enough time to wake up, get ready, and drive north to the woods. I hardly noticed the chill as I watched the sky and the sparkles of light illuminating the wildflowers and the grasses.
Walking back up the road, I noticed a bird perched on the top of the wire fence. It was a Cedar Waxwing. I entered the woods. The wind was strong. I could see the branches moving overhead. The air was still down near the ground. Up ahead, there was a flash of red. A Northern Cardinal paused for a moment on a tree at the edge of the path. The path follows a ravine. There is a downward slope to a small creek behind the trees. The morning light made its way through the trees to form shifting patterns on the grasses and the leaves.
When I left the woods, I heard birdsong coming from the old tree. A Mountain Bluebird was singing from the very top of the tree. It was over 300 miles east of its customary range. Eastern Bluebirds and Western Bluebirds have rusty red patches across their fronts. The Mountain Bluebird was at a distance that is at the very end of my camera’s abilities and the photos are not clear. There is no mistaking, though, the blue instead of rusty red across his front.
I walked up the road to the Restored Prairie before leaving for home. The high winds were out in front of a storm. In a few hours, there would be sheets of rain, thunder, and lightening. It was the last Saturday in spring.
Take care and thanks for reading.