Snow: Before and After

Hairy Woodpecker at the Portage

Yesterday morning I got up and went to see how the birds were doing at the Portage. It was a cold, windy, bleary morning, and as far as I could tell, nobody was having a good time.

When the large black blob in the distance turned out to be a windblown Bald Eagle, I was encouraged to investigate. I couldn’t get very close to where it was perched high above the railroad tracks.

The Red-Winged Blackbirds weren’t singing much. This one appeared to look as if he was reconsidering his early arrival.

I did finally manage to see one of perhaps four Song Sparrows who were carrying on vocally as if spring had sprung. But he wasn’t flaunting his presence.

Perhaps the nicest surprise was an Eastern Phoebe. I felt for him, though, as there were no bugs to eat and it made me wonder what else he could get by on a couple days before the scheduled warmup.

Even the Robins weren’t having a good time.

The cardinals have been singing for weeks. They started earlier than the Robins. There was one singing along with the piano a few days ago. I was surprised, since the windows aren’t open. He must have heard the keyboard through the front door and I assume he was perched on the little apple tree outside of it. Below is a recording of Bach’s Prelude No. 1 in C Major from the Well-Tempered Clavier, and just at the end where I start playing some other chords you can hear the cardinal singing along.

Northern Cardinal at the Portage
Cardinal singing with us toward the end of this clip

This Downy Woodpecker was foraging low with the sparrows.

I never did see if there was a hen sitting on a presumably well-hidden nest who belonged to this Mallard but he was definitely taking it easy.

I really hoped we were done with this snow stuff, although it was less than a minor inconvenience considering I didn’t have to go anywhere and it has now melted away. These few photos are from yesterday afternoon through the porch windows. The wet snow was falling and I didn’t feel like joining the birds in it, but I wanted to commemorate its arrival since I banished all my snow-in-the-yard photos from this “past” winter to external storage to make room for spring.

I’ve gone back to the photos from my August trip to New Brunswick and Grand Manan and hope to follow with a post or two featuring bright sunshiny blue skies shortly.

I hope you are in good health, and pray you are making some sense out of all the chaos. We will get through this.

8 thoughts on “Snow: Before and After

    • I didn’t know how determined a bunch of soggy birds could be but the snow seemed to cause a real run on the feeders anyway, so even though there wasn’t any light to speak of I felt like I had to commemorate it. The sun finally came out this afternoon for a little while but I think we’re going into rain mode now.

  1. Your recording is the coolest! I heard the cardinal! Goes to show it doesn’t matter who is making music, we are all together for a few glorious moments.

    • So glad you listened and could hear the cardinal! I wasn’t sure at first if I had picked it up with my tiny recorder but am glad I did. This is what got me started with the birds altogether. They are listening, and they are musicians who willingly participate. I really miss playing for wild birds but it’s not practical for me to do so, so I was really grateful when this cardinal decided to chime in. You are absolutely right. We have more in common with the other creatures on this planet than we will ever know.

  2. Yes, we will get through this and these images you have captured help us trust that. Thank you, Lisa.

    Julie (Jim’s wife)

    • Thanks, Frank. I hope we all get to at least experience the beauty of spring in spite of everything else. A little time outside goes a long way now. 🙂

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