Winter is almost over; sooner than past years, for sure.
Took a hike in the hills above a stream. The leaves aren’t out yet, but the sun and breeze are warm. Spring Peepers are back. Ducks and geese are migrating north again, stopping over in the sheltered backwaters.
When a new flock arrives, calling out, the ones on the water call back to them. Like the kids game we played in the pool blindfolded, “Marco! Polo!”
They set up quite a racket until the new arrivals land and get settled.
A family of Screech Owls has been visiting the back yard every evening all week. They come in from the woods as the fireflies rise from the grass, that brief crepuscular window between dusk and dark.
There are two adults and three fledglings. They are fearless. With full faith in their camouflage, which makes them nearly invisible, and pay me no mind as I stand nearby. They swoop overhead to low hanging branches, dive into the grass just a few feet away, then fly back up to feed whatever they’ve caught to the hungry youngsters. Sometimes so close I feel the wind from their wings.
I almost didn’t notice them. There is no sound when they fly. But sitting in the yard watching the fireflies, I kept seeing a random blur in my peripheral vision. It was only when the mockingbirds started raising a ruckus, mobbing something in a tree, that I went to investigate. I stared at the tree and saw nothing. Then one took flight and went over my head.
The name for these birds is a terrible disservice, and truly misleading. They don’t screech at all. There’s only a soft trilling as they chitter to each other. When one does call at night, it’s a musical mournful sound, more like a child lost in the woods, tired and weeping.
A decade ago, we met good friends for a couple of weeks exploring Guatemala. It’s a great way to travel, with friends who know the country well. We went places and saw things we would never have found on our own. And it’s only better when friends have someone to share them with.