09 March 2008
Redwings, Robins and RAIN!
Well, what do you know? For a change, we didn't get belted with snow, but with a most impressive rainstorm instead. I haven't heard yet how other parts of the Maritimes have fared--both the Internet and satellite went out for a while last night, naturally--but here we had rain all day yesterday, and then last night it got down to serious business with major drownpours and of course wind lashing it all around--AND thunder and lightning to add to the festivities. Surprisingly, there's no flooding around here, and there aren't even ponds laying around in the yard--the ground is apparently more thawed than we realized and absorbed a lot of the melt and the rainwater, which is a surprise.
There are welcome surprises here this morning, though. When I came downstairs, bleary eyed and time-confused (though I'm glad to have Daylight Saving Time here), hubby had my coffee poured, the waffles warm in the iron, and the Bakeapple syrup ready for me. And he was gleeful. "Look outside!" He told me happily. "The redwings are back."
(Google image, photog unknown)
And so they are. Well, one big bright male is, anyway--I haven't gone down to the pond to see whether there are more, but there will be. They come to our feeders to eat seeds, but as spring comes on they'll eat a lot of insects too, as well as wild seeds (remember those wild plants I talked about last post?)
Our pond is a wild area, with lots of cattails, sedges and reeds, and assorted other native plants, including alders. Yes, alders. I welcome them by the pond, because they hold the soil in place and also act as filters for groundwater, as well as being habitat havens for all kinds of wildlife. The pond isn't deep, and we've talked about digging it out at one end because it's silted in quite heavily, but I worry about disturbing the myriad frogs, beneficial insects, salamanders, birds and other creatures that make the pond and surroundings their home.
While we were excitedly celebrating the arrival of redwings, something caught my eye further back in the yard. There's a distinctive way that some birds move, and before I even found my glasses so I could see clearly, I realized what it was. An American robin. In fact, a few of them, bop bop bopping across the grass in search of tasty tidbits.
It's a grey, dreary day here today, and suddenly, that doesn't matter one bit. The bird populations are changing, and a walk around the squishy property showed me that yes, the willow branches are brightening in colour, buds are swelling a bit on some shrubs, and oh, look at those green perennial weeds. (yes, I have weeds that I DON'T want, too.) It's almost time to start PlantWatching, looking for those first harbingers of true, rather than calendar, spring. As I wrote in my column in the Chronicle Herald this morning, Spring WILL eventually remember where we live. And we'll make it through. All of us, whether we're in La Ronge, Sask, or Tampa, Florida or hanging on to the windswept Fundy shoreline.
And even though it's snowing again, now, and I can't see to the bottom of the pasture. We will get through.