Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Wings of Spring

Winter is well and truly over in my neck of the woods. We may still get some snow. Temperatures may still dip below freezing. The wind may once again cut through us like a knife before April is done. But winter's back is broken and spring has arrived, bringing with her the music of our feathered friends.

Please walk around the pond with me and I'll point out the birds I've seen the last few days. If you click on the audio files beneath each photo, you'll also experience some of the sounds of spring. Any of the photos can be enlarged a bit by clicking on them.



Robins are known as the first sign of spring but this winter, I continued to see the odd one here and there throughout the season. Still, it's wonderful to see and hear them out in full force. They're beautiful, aren't they?






To me, the Red-winged blackbird is the true harbinger of spring. This year, Frank and I each waited anxiously to hear its familiar "Bdleeeeeeeeeeet," signaling that winter had finally moved along for another year. Its song is such a welcomed sound.






For a couple of springs and summers, I've heard these little "meep meep" sounds and had no idea which bird it vocalized this way. I'd look around and never find the source. Just last week, while Frank and I were walking, we heard it again, and Frank informed me that he'd recently noticed that a Nuthatch was the little bird responsible for this call.






Starlings are all out in full force. They're a rather bland bird much of the time but when the sunlight catches them just right, their lovely colours appear. Much like the Grackle...






I haven't managed to snap a photo of a Grackle yet this year but I've seen several of them around the pond and at my back yard feeder. I love their iridescent colours which appear with the sunlight.






The Canada geese have been returning to the pond since last month's oil spill. It's good to see and hear them come home again. I haven't heard anything further about that situation but I'll be sure to let you know when I do.






Beautiful Canada flying in their V formation. They announce their arrival and departure with a beautiful chorus.






This photo was taken in my back yard last week. It appears rather flat because it was shot through double glass doors. While walking today, I heard a Blue jay calling from the bushes. I stopped for the longest time and tried to locate him but could not. He must have moved along and I decided that I would too. A few steps further and I saw what I thought was a Mourning dove on a branch. I moved a bit closer and found a clearing where I had a good view of the bird whose back was turned toward me. I realized by its size that it was a bit too large to be a dove. It turned to look at me...






.. and I found myself looking right into the eye of a beautiful, young Sharp-shinned hawk. It made my day.

Thanks for joining me on my walk. It's always nice to have company when taking in the wonderful sights and sounds.

52 comments:

LadyFi said...

Oh, such a delightful walk! I loved hearing all the birdsong.

Winter seems very much here, but the days are light and filled with song too, so I guess that winter is just making a last stand before disappearing...

Kerri said...

Fabulous post Hilary! That HAWK is amazing!!

Pauline said...

what a delightful post! those same birds inhabit the woods, fields, and yards here. the photos are stunning and what a treat to hear those voices.

Addicted to The Click said...

Love this! What a fun walk with all those beautiful birds. Thanks for sharing them with us!

Steve Gravano said...

Great post love the audio clips. My cat was going crazy over them also.

Brian Miller said...

wow. thanks for the wonderful shots...i kept picking out favorites and they just kept geting better....nice audio as well...smiles.

Mental P Mama said...

What a wonderful walk! My goldfinches are almost finished turning bright yellow;) Spring is all around!

She Writes said...

New camera, new lens, new editing system? Photos are FAB!

Pat - Arkansas said...

Gorgeous photos, Hilary, and I love the addition of the bird calls! It was a lovely walk today; thanks for letting us join you.

TSannie said...

What beautiful photos - and it was neat to hear the bird voices. I also have never associated the nuthatch with the correct nuthatch sound!

ds said...

Beautiful--loved the bird sounds! Though I admire the regal hawk, and have a soft spot for red-winged blackbirds, I have to thank you (and Frank!) for introducing me to the nuthatch. I've seen them, but never knew what they were. Happy Spring!

Linda said...

Such beautiful birds, and amazing detail. I love the Robin, the seldom-seen here Red-winged Blackbird is gorgeous. The icing is that hawk. What a picture!

Frank Baron said...

Always good to see and hear some of my feathered buddies. Adding the sound clips was a very nice touch. Good one. :)

Daryl said...

A birding we will go, a birding we will go ... hi ho the day is slow, a birding we will go ...

What fabulous feathered friends you have!

Cricket said...

Wonderful pictures. I assume you zoom? Or do you actually manage to get close? Anyway, really great detail. My eyes are not exactly high-rez. Sometimes it's nice to see what I can't really see, you know?

My father always likes to recite: Spring has sprung, the grass is riz. Wonder where da boidies iz?

Yes, spring has sprung. For your listening pleasure, a springtime favorite of mine: Thousand Island Park, by the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

ellen abbott said...

what a delight to stumble on the hawk. I really enjoy seeing them out at the country house. Your bird photos are so incredible, so sharp and clear.

Travis Erwin said...

Yeah I can comment. I tried yesterday and it wouldn't let me.

Just wanted to say this post made me feel like spring had arrived.

Dianne said...

I love the flying in formation shot! I swear the birds wake up in the morning and tell each other to spruce up and get ready - Hilary is coming. :)

Karen said...

That was amazing!! The sounds AND pictures. What a treat. That hawk picture is super.

christopher said...

Finally spring! Those are great photos...so clear, it's like being there.

Barbara Martin said...

Yes, once the migratory birds arrive then spring is finally here! I have heard the robins the past few days, and a pair of starlings are making some sort of nest in the attic of the house I reside in. They made a hole wider just over the eavestrough at the roof edge. The landlord has been notified, and the poor things will likely be kicked out soon.

And today while on the streetcar I saw several pairs of Trumpeter Swans swimming in the lagoons at High Park.

Michael Manning said...

Hilary: These images are so vibrant! I enjoyed them very, very much!

Maggie May said...

Wow....! I new look on the blog. (Very nice!)
Great photos and I was interested to hear all the bird song. Your robin is quite different from ours!
Amazing post.

Nuts in May

Shrinky said...

It is incredible what your eye sees on these walks of yours, and you capture it perfectly. Stunning, Hilary. Oh, and thanks for the honour of including me in your post of the week - smile!

Shammickite said...

I couldn't hear the birdsong as I still haven't got my computer's sound card fixed, but the bird pictures are wonderful. It's so nice to know that even if it snows again during April, it won't last long and spring is really here. There are lots of sparrows nesting in my multi-unit bird house, all bravely defending their nests from a pair of marauding starlings who are constantly trying to steal the sparrows' nesting material. It's a daily battle.

Leah J. Utas said...

Well done on the bird pics. I love the haunting melody of the red-winged blackbird, too.

Suldog said...

You take such beautiful photos for someone who causes so much trouble.

(Only one or two others will know what in hell I'm talking about here. You should all know a valuable lesson I learned in broadcasting school. Never pick a fight with the guy holding the microphone. You will lose.)

(Yes, you should be full of anticipatory dread. Hee-Hee!)

Land of shimp said...

Every single one of them looks just beautiful. The Robins have returned here also. Just as all squirrels are named Sparky (long story) all Robins are referred to as "Hard working Robin". For birds that can often look as if they have swallowed a tennis ball, they are so industrious.

But I've only really seen the robins thus far, and your tour brought more spring birds to me. I was dutifully playing the bird songs, clicking on each on in turn, marveling at what really is a rather intricate form of communication going on around us...when I heard a strange sound over my shoulder, turned and saw the most fascinated cat in all of creation perched on the edge of my desk. Tail twitching, eyes the size of hubcaps, clearly sizing up the possibilities of getting my giant monitor.

You have another fan of your bird pictures, Hilary and he'd dearly like to play with them.

I'm having trouble recalling the specifics of this, and whether it refers to Grackles or Starlings, I believe it is Starlings. Some Shakespeare enthusiasts decide to import some to New York City in the nineteenth century, and released them in the city, where they proceeded to breed like mad and become something of a nuisance.

So allegedly, according to that (which may be more urban legend than truth), every Starling (or it might be Grackle) in North America is a relative of the friends of Shakespeare. Perhaps they are busy enacting dramas and comedies to this day. Fun to imagine isn't it?

Nancy said...

You deserve POTW for this one! I could not believe the wonderful pictures with accompanying sound! That hawk was just unbelievable. We still have about a foot of new snow, but I have noticed a couple of woodpeckers and some jays, but that's about it so far.

messymimi said...

Lovely!

We have a pair of Canadian geese nesting at the pond on our church property, and they are such fun to feed and watch.

ethelmaepotter! said...

This is another of my favorites of your posts - girl, the list is growing too long!

I LOVE the sounds you put with each bird...and Spooky came running at the very first one! She was certain a bird had flown into the house, and she continually sniffed around my chair and climbed on top, looking out the window!


The red-winged blackbird...I had no idea that was what it was called. I've seen them occasionally, and they are striking!

Fantastic post!

photowannabe said...

Stunning post Hilary. thank you so much for the sounds of spring.
It just mad e give a big sigh and say Ah...

imbeingheldhostage said...

The added sounds were brilliant! I don't know how you manage to get such clear, beautiful bird photos. they are terrific Hilary.


Also, double comment here-- I loved the couple of POTWs I was able to get out to read tonight. Thank you for your effort and energy that goes into it!

E said...

i'm going to sleep now. relaxed and lulled into sweet rest by the iridescent plumage and soothing song of these feathered beauties.

oh, hilary! what a multi-sensorial gift this was. thank you for taking me on today's unique walk with you.

happy spring, easter and re-birth.

lime said...

wow, hilary, just wow! each one was better than the last. the jay and the hawk just blew me away with how you captured then. truly impressive.

Joanna Jenkins said...

What a gorgeous tour with your feathered friends!

I'm just back from Spring Break vacation and catching you on my reading. Thanks for this gorgeous post.

Happy weekend,
xo

Eternally Distracted said...

The Hawk is fabulous... all the pics are great. I seem to have good intentions of taking pictures of all these things but always get distracted by the ice-cream shop ;0)

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Hilary: What a beautiful set of birds and cool sound effects.

LadyFi said...

Hi! I'd like to nominate this post from Forks Off the Moment for your Post of the Week slot on Wednesday. I though it was such a touching tribute of a wonderful old person!

http://hihidi.blogspot.com/2010/04/i-was-dancer-you-know.html

holdingmoments said...

What an excellent walk, seeing and hearing some of your birds. Really enjoyed it Hilary.

Grayquill said...

You pictures amaze me - You could become responsibe for me going out and buying a real camera - I am thinking of the Rebel?
I am going to have to sell something first so I can sell the idea to Mrs. GQ first. :)
Nice pictures and descriptions.
You are the best!

Clowncar said...

Gorgeous. Though sadly I couldn't get the sound to work.

Have you been watching that Life documentary on Discovery? Remarkable. There's an upcoming episode on birds.

Hilary said...

• IBHH, thank you so much for your kind comments. I'm glad you like the bird photos and that you're enjoying the POTW. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks, E. I'm glad that my bird photos and their accompanying sounds could lull you to sleep. I'm happy to have you along with me on my walks. I always enjoy the company. Happy spring, Easter, rebirth and Passover to you too! :)

• Lime, thanks very much. It pleases me to know that you like my feathered friends. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Joanna, thank you and welcome back. Thanks for your kind words. :)

• ED, thank you kindly. And yes, I read about you and that "Pink" ice cream cone. ;)

• Fishing guy, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed them. :)

• Lady Fi, thank you for this post recommendation. I had already noted it but will make sure that Dianne knows you suggested it too. :)

• HoldingMoments, thank you kindly. Very much appreciated. :)

• Grayquill, thank you so much. I understand that the Rebel is a decent DSLR. Both of my cameras are Canons and I'm very happy with them. Good luck with selling the idea to Mrs. GQ.. I'm sure you'll wow her with some great photos once you do. :)

• Clowncar, thank you. Too bad the sound wouldn't work for you. I haven't caught any of those episodes yet. Maybe if I'm lucky, I'll see the one about birds. If not, I'm sure the set will be worth buying once it becomes available. Thanks so much for coming by. :)

steviewren said...

I've tried leaving a comment twice. My power keeps going out. Let me just say really quick...I love this post! Pictures and sounds!

Redbush said...

What a spectacular post! I'm so amazed that you could record all the sounds along with the beautiful bird pictures!

L. D. Burgus said...

Well I am glad some of our Canadians geese finally made it up there. We have so many that winter here now in Iowa and live off of the corn and bean fields in the winter. Great shots of all of the birds.

Hilary said...

• Thanks very much, Steviewren. Sorry for the power woes. I hope they're resolved by now. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Redbush. I didn't record those sounds. They were clips which pre-existed. :)

• Thanks kindly, Larry. Our Canada geese are year-rounders too. We have a significant population which stay all winter. They're enjoyable to see at any season. Thanks for stopping by. :)

addhumorandfaith said...

My friend, Hilary, you deserve every one of the wonderful comments you get about your posts. You are a true talent whom we are all blessed to have found.

This post is just WONDERFUL! To look at one of your always great photos and then to be able to listen to that bird's voice, is just great!

Thank you for sharing your talent, my friend. You bless all who visit here.

p.s. I hope I never find out that Benny is actually a hired actor just to add "cuteness" to your blog! But, even if that is the case, it does work!) :)

kcinnova said...

Absolutely wonderful!!
Did you record the sounds yourself, or are they to be found on the wonderful interwebs?

SandyCarlson said...

I love the red-winged blackbird, too. I stood and watched one for a good while this evening. They are like scholars in their robes. Thanks for these.

deb said...

i just sneak peeked at these two posts and my heart is racing.
I'll come back later.... but geez Hilary. You pierce a soul !

Hilary said...

• Sandra, my friend, you make me blush with your kind words. Thank you so much for your warm and wonderful comments. They're so appreciated. But darn, you found me out about Benny. He is of course not on hire but more or less on loan. He's a weekend visitor along with the cute guy who brings him. Benny is indeed Frank's dog but I get to share him on weekends. :)

• Thanks, KC. I confess to finding them. The only way I could record them would be with the video setting of my camera and if I was going to do that, you'd see a bunch of videos instead of photos. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Sandy what a wonderful and apt way to describe the red-winged blackbirds. You have such a way with words. They sure do make a beautiful sound too, don't they? :)

• Deb, what a lovely thing to say. Thank you so very much for that. :)