Last winter, I was blessed to have two pairs of gentle Mourning doves that came to the bird feeders. This spring I was again blessed by their beautiful courtship cooing. Now I'm doubly blessed, because there are now eight doves to enjoy—four adults and four youngsters.
I've been finding quite a few molted flight feathers (wing feathers) this past week. They come from a variety of birds, and you never know when you'll spot one. Today I found feathers from several different kinds of birds, including the Mourning dove, Blue jay, Rose-breasted grosbeak, Cardinal, and a Red-winged blackbird.
An old plank laid across the top of the woodpile makes a good makeshift bird feeder. It didn't take a woodchuck long to climb up and find the sunflower seeds. A little while later, along came a hungry Gray squirrel for a snack. They seemed just fine with each other's company and dined together. Some of the sunflower seeds got knocked off the plank, and fell three feet to the ground, where a little chipmunk gathered them up in his cheek pouches. It's not often I get to watch three kinds of squirrels so close together.
Yesterday, I stopped to see what was happening at the frog pond at the far end of the meadow. It's a beautiful little pond, about the size of a full sized car, and a quiet setting in a shady place. The still, dark water mirrored the overhanging green branches, and Water striders sent tiny ripples across the surface. Ah, but there was life within the pond as well, as I saw some small black objects swimming at the bottom. I bent down for a closer look and counted over a hundred fat, little tadpoles moving around. Some of them were already forming hind legs. There were some other, smaller frogs around the edge of the pond, making this a nice, froggy place to visit.
On my way back across the meadow, I passed a group of about 20 tall milkweed plants. I always like to check to see what may be nibbling on the leaves. To my surprise, there was a large, black, yellow and white striped caterpillar towards the top of the first milkweed I checked. A Monarch! I looked over the other plants, but this was the only caterpillar. At least it's a start. There are lots of different kinds of milkweed in the meadow. It's the preferred food of Monarch larvae, so maybe I just need a little more patience. Hopefully more caterpillars will appear.
Spotting a small green bug on a nearby leaf, I was drawn in for a closer look. Such a shiny, Emerald green was this little, "black-bean"-sized beetle. He sported an orange belt around his waist, which only seemed to enhance his bright green head and body. He was quite an eyeful, but one I don't remember seeing here before. Maybe someone can tell me who he is? None of my field guides describe him.
Oh the world is so much different than you think, when you bend over for a closer look. The Wood lily is truly a lovely sight to behold, but bend closer and you will feel your heart purr at its beauty. The world is always different from another perspective. Often, when I'm standing in a nice natural setting, I will sit down to see the world as some of the wild ones see it. Their range of view is much different than mine, and I find it's a good way for me to relate to what their world is like. The key to better understanding is to simply take a little closer look.
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