Saturday, March 19, 2005

Saturday Bird Spottings

A clear sunny morn with birds all around the yard and in the woods beyond. The Clog-wife and I walked the corgi at 7:00 a.m. down the short tree-canopied dirt road to the pastures and woods bordering Orange Lake. I paused at the gate to watch and listen to the many birds; Clog-wife, the white cat and the corgi continued through the gate and down the road that right-angles around an old homestead dating from the 1840's.

All that remains of the homestead is a pile of brick that used to be the chimney, slowly returning to earth beneath a rank tangle of poison ivy. Freddy Wood farms that piece of ground and grows melons or squashes. Right now the patch is sown in winter ryegrass. Over the past year we've gleaned
from the freshly turned furrows a jarfull of bits of old crockery and pieces of colored glass , door knobs, and two glass beads .

Th plot is part of a much larger cow pasture of several hundred acres on the northeast shore of Orange Lake. The corgi could smell the cows and made off into the tall grass in a little sweetgum thicket, white cat trailing behind. Clog-wife says "He's got cow in him, but he wouldn't know what to do if he came upon one." I suspect she's correct. The yardbird didn't want to come home.

Back home, I lingered in the yard with my binoculars and identified the following 19 birds by sight or by their calls: parula warbler, yellow-rumped (myrtle) warbler, white-eyed vireo, blue-gray gnatcatcher, ruby-crowned kinglet, brown thrasher, American robin, blue jay, red-wing blackbird, Carolina wren, cardinal, catbird, mockingbird, red-bellied woodpecker, red-shouldered hawk, bald eagle, tree swallow, black-headed vulture, and sandhill crane.

Sawing the Fiddle
Later, the Clog-wife and I drove to Paynes Prairie State Preserve on the shore of Lake Wauberg to watch the latter stage of the Sawgrass Fiddle Contest. The event is held every Spring and the contestants are children and teenagers. Its an effort of love by adult fiddlers and sponsors with the express purpose of inspiring and cultivating the next generation of fiddlers. We heard several playing styles in the brief time we were there: Texas swing, old-time, Irish, and Scottish. It was quite an enjoyable way to spend a lovely Spring afternoon beside a lake.

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