Tuesday was a day of mystery and celebration.
The first mystery strode along the edge of the pond. His head bobbed up and down. He stopped for a moment, called, and then listened. A reply came from somewhere in the marsh.
The second mystery zig-zagged in the water near the bank stopping to dig in the mud from time to time. He had spots on his front and his wings. He encountered a mystery of his own in the form of a tennis ball in the mud.
The third mystery sang from a dried plant in the meadow. At first, I saw only his silhouette. He flew to another dried plant and hid in its branches. I followed him for a while, but he stayed well ahead of me. He was the size of a song sparrow. He had stripes on his head. His song was two short notes and then a trill which sounded like a cricket or a grasshopper.
I had to look in the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America on my desk to find the names of the three birds: solitary sandpiper, spotted sandpiper, and grasshopper sparrow. The solitary sandpiper is migrating. His summer range is to the north in Canada. The spotted sandpiper and the grasshopper sparrow spend the summer here. I think I saw a spotted sandpiper once last year. I am intrigued by the grasshopper sparrow. This is the first time that I have seen one and I have lived in their summer range all of my life. I didn’t recognize his song. I will be listening and watching for him now.
A song sparrow celebrated the sunrise over by the cottonwood tree.
I passed by the marsh on my way home. A flock of red-winged blackbirds competed for attention singing and showing off their red feathers. A Canadian goose sat on the top of a muskrat pushup. I think she has made a nest there. I am hoping the mallard ducks will nest in the marsh like they did two years ago. I didn’t see any mallard ducks on Tuesday morning. A flash of yellow caught my eye in the grass before the tree line. It was a male American goldfinch in his bright yellow summer feathers!
A Solitary Sandpiper at dawn, April 26, 2016. He calls at 10.4 seconds. A second Solitary Sandpiper calls in reply from somewhere in the marsh at 13 seconds.
A Solitary Sandpiper call, April 26, 2016.
A Spotted Sandpiper on the edge of the pond, April 26, 2016.
A Grasshopper Sparrow singing from a dried plant in the meadow, April 26, 2016.
An audio clip of a Grasshopper Sparrow singing, April 26, 2016. Meadowlarks, Red-winged Blackbirds, Robins, and frogs are singing in the background.
Red-winged Blackbirds singing and showing off their red feathers in the marsh, April 26, 2016.
An audio clip of the Red-winged Blackbirds calling and singing, April 26, 2016. Meadowlarks, Robins, and frogs are singing in the background.
Take care and thanks for reading.