I still haven’t made time for a full-on excursion into the field, but over the weekend, I took some moments to observe and appreciate the nature around me.
On Saturday morning, I took a break from unpacking the boxes stacked inside my new apartment to sit out in my new backyard for a few minutes. It was early, before 8 a.m., and the morning was still relatively cool.
I had been hearing the Mississippi Kites calling to each other as I made trips out to the dumpster, and when I went out into the backyard, I heard one calling loudly and persistently from an area right behind the fence at the very back of my new yard.
I walked closer to the sound to investigate, opening the big wooden gate and looking up and down the alley. I stepped into the alley, and the call came again, just above me.
I looked up and saw a kite perched on the utility line running above the alley. As I watched, another kite swooped in and offered the perched kite a cicada.
I saw that the perched kite didn’t have the smooth gray plumage of an adult and realized it was probably a fledgling – big enough to fly, but not yet experienced enough to hunt on its own.
I carefully inched my way along the fence until I had a clear view of the youngster. Sure enough, he (or she) had the speckled plumage of a juvenile, although the young bird was every bit as large as an adult.
The youngster perched on the utility line cried as piteously as any chick: “Mom! Dad! I’m so hungry! So hungry!” Occasionally, an adult kite would drop out of the sky and presented a big insect to the youngster, which would keep him quiet for a short time.
Very soon, this young bird will realize that if he catches his own food, he’ll be able to eat whenever he wants.
If it had been up to me, I would have stayed and watched the kite for much longer, but I had an apartment to organize, so I left off watching the youngster and got back to work.
Later in the weekend, I was over at a friend’s house, and I saw several interesting birds in the yard behind the house.
My friend keeps a small trough filled with water in his backyard behind his house, and the neighborhood birds love this feature, especially on those hot summer afternoons when it feels like you’re living inside a furnace.
I sat in the shade on my friend’s back porch early Sunday evening after the very worst of the afternoon heat had passed and watched a male Vermilion Flycatcher swoop delicately down from its perch in an ash tree to capture tiny flying insects.
I watched White-winged Doves land on the edge of the water trough and take long sips of the water.
Northern Cardinals waited their turn, as did a pair of Brown-crested Flycatchers.
Hopefully, I will be able to take a “real” excursion back into the field soon.