It’s a difficult sound to describe, rather primordial in nature. Maybe it’s a duck’s quack? Or a dog’s bark? Or some combination of the two. And yet, all is quiet and then the noise erupts suddenly from one nest as a parent flies in, a meal in the oven about to be regurgitated.
It’s a scene that plays out at individual nests for a while before all become quiet again as if lunch has ended and the kids should take time for a nap. But until such time, the neighbors in the high rise next door watch enviously as their playmates are fed.
Just down the block one of the tweens, for suddenly after about a month of life they are such, flexes his wings as he stands out on a branch. It’s a tradition as old as time–tweens and teens going out on a limb to show their capability to survive in the world. The question remains, however: when will he reach the right age to get a license?
As the tween to the right finishes flexing, the one in the center lets a shiver pass through his body. Is it a pre-flex motion? His other sibling watches and wonders what it’s all about. Perhaps he’s trying to prove something?
Meanwhile, because I stood beside a river with a friend so I could count Great Blue Heron nests, active nests, young, young in nests, fledglings, and adults, we also began to notice other life that surrounded us like a Kingbird who posed for moments on end.
Constantly, however, my eye was drawn to the tiptop of the White Pines, where I began to realize there were more and more birds than my first count because many were feeling their oats and testing their individuality.
Other birds added to the rhythm as we listened for and shared with each other the location of the song makers in our midst.
And then, and then . . . a male Belted Kingfisher pause smack dab in front of us, his tuft of head feathers earning him the “Wicked Cool Dad” award in the neighborhood.
He looked right at us and made dorky dad comments that left us exclaiming with delight.
Meanwhile, back at the rookery, some of the tweens continued to wait in the most patient manner. They muttered hardly a word. We did have to wonder how such big birds could fit in those nest of twigs. The nests were large in bird terms, but the birds were even larger. At last it was time for us to depart, and we left the young in their quiet mode.
My journey continued on the other side of the river. It was there that I spotted Robber Flies in that age-old act of mating.
And a moth I believe to be known as a Virginian Tiger Moth or Woolybear Moth clinging.
But perhaps my favorite of all, that I found because we chose today to check on the rookery, was the Sphinx moth holding onto a pine sapling. At first I thought it was a dead leaf caught on the twig.
Behold the wonder of the rookery and beyond.