How long does it take to stop hearing a piece like the Faure Requiem in one’s head? The powerful experience Sunday morning of singing the Requiem twice as a member of the Unity Temple Choir, after the anticipation of the event woke me up periodically the night before, not to mention the weeks of rehearsal: I guess I have been living the Requiem. In spite of the incessant rain we had an ample and appreciative audience. After services the rain stopped for a while, so I took a walk around my neighborhood to see what spring migrants, if any, were trapped by the cold north winds. Internally possessed by the music, birding allowed the music to go on playing in my head at full blast. So far I have gotten through yesterday and this morning with my usual distractions of Spanish and French on the phone and summoning Peter Mayer on my way into the office, but bits and pieces of the Requiem still haunt me. Yesterday with the Kyrie it occurred to me that I caused conversations to be held in D minor.
Here’s a little roundup of two weekends in the yard and environs. I struggle with how long I can endure the cold, and the birds struggle with deciding when their hunger overcomes their inability to ignore my presence.
More Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers in the conifers around the edge of Freedom Park which is just at the end of my block.
The rain changed to snow overnight. Again. It’s as if there was a repeat sign at the end of last weekend. While I am still thankful for my undisturbed leaf litter cradling the new green shoots that seem to be emerging from the soil nevertheless, the greenery is beginning to look tired and frozen. The snow shots are from last weekend when unfortunately I had to take them through the porch windows.
The mourning doves are in full courtship mode, in spite of the chill.
Dark-Eyed Juncos have been a force, and it’s delightful to hear them sing on occasion. I love the subtlety of their individual variations in plumage.
Last Sunday I was surprised to discover an Oregon Dark-Eyed Junco in the yard. There are six subspecies of Dark-Eyed Junco, and the one we get consistently is the Slate-Colored. The easternmost normal occurrence of the Oregon in its winter range is Nebraska and its breeding range is in the northwest, so it’s considered rare in Illinois. There have been a couple other reports of other individuals locally.
The American Goldfinches are coming into their breeding plumage slowly but steadily, some more advanced than others. I’ve been seeing mainly males at the feeders.
One of my backyard robins put on a little fashion show using the new back gate as its catwalk.
Ho hum winter grey clouds…
A little ray of sunshine: a goldfinch enjoying a drink of water.
On the radio this morning I heard that this date last year, we were in the 80’s. Likely I was complaining about that. Oh well. We won’t be getting anywhere near that for a while, I suspect, but with any luck we are done with snow until – dare I say it – November.