Like some of you, I am now working from home.
Instead of treating this like an exile, I am going to try and use this time to reconnect with myself and my writing on a deeper level.
Because there is no editor looking over my shoulder, I will also have to work hard at disciplining myself, something I’ve never been terribly good at.
I have been venturing out of the apartment once or twice a day, and on Sunday, I decided to drive down to the Rincon to see how spring was progressing along the San Felipe Creek.
The sky had been full of stars when I first woke up, and I had hoped for a sunny day, but by the time the sun rose, it had clouded over again. On top of that, there was a very light drizzle falling, coating everything with moisture.
Along the creek, Northern Cardinals, Great Kiskadees and Red-winged Blackbirds sang and called.
I walked over to one of pecan trees growing in the Rincon and saw that it was finally putting out leaves and catkins. The delicate new leaves were a brilliant acid-green.
Michael G., a native south Texan, always told me that you knew that the last of the really cold weather had passed when the pecans and mesquites began leafing out.
“They’re cautious trees,” he’d say.
Up among the new leaves, I saw a pair of Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, the male’s red cap a brilliant splash of color in the drab morning. The two small birds mated, and their brief fluttering disturbed a Hermit Thrush, which flew up into the branches above the pair and looked around to see what all the fuss was about.
I wandered along the paved roads in the Rincon and stopped to admire a huisache in full bloom, its golden puffballs of flowers lightly covered with moisture.
Several small birds foraged along the huisache’s slender branches, a pair of Orange-crowned Warblers, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a Lincoln’s Sparrow and a Nashville Warbler.
I’m always excited to see Nashville Warblers because I don’t see them all that often, and because I know that they, along with the Orange-crowns and the Lincoln’s Sparrows, will soon be moving out of our area to head to their breeding grounds.
Both of these birds have a long way to go: Both species breed in Canadian and northern U.S. forests, with the Nashvilles found more in eastern Canada north of the Great Lakes.
I hope they decide to stay around for a few more weeks.
Karen Gleason is the senior staff writer for the Del Rio News-Herald. She loves nature and the outdoors and has been an avid bird watcher since childhood.