Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Allure of the Field

It is getting to be that time of year when my thinking is almost always focused on getting into the field. In my neck of the woods the days alternate, at this time, between cold and overcast and clear, sunny and warming weather. Spring is but just around the corner; certain signs are all around. Small new leaves on the Mock Orange, American goldfinches showing up more often in their more brilliant mating plumage, and greater activity of my small avian friends in the trees around my house beg me to get ready for an outdoor adventure.

I find myself digging through my journal refreshing my memory of birds seen at this time of the year at different locales in the past. Should I grab my binoculars and head to the Pecan Groves? Will I find the Harris Sparrows still lingering or are they now gone? Will the Crows be harassing the Great Horned Owls? I won’t be surprised for it is a ritual witnessed many times before. Will I find under the Bridge over the South Bosque only Cliff Swallows or will I find some nests of the Cave Swallows, too? I must study the differences in their nests beforehand, subtle though they are.

Should I gather up my spotting scope and head for the Wetlands? It would be nice to find an Anhinga, but I’ve yet to see one there. I know they visit. There are plenty of reports and sightings. Alas, I have not. Will there be a few ducks hanging around? One more look at a Hooded Mergansers or Buffleheads would be grand. Will I be able to scope a Snipe? The mottling of its feathers makes it so difficult to see. One often needs a great spotting scope to find and observe it well.

The allure of the field is strong, indeed. The need to shake off the winter, and rid this cabin fever is evident. I want to drink in the view. One of the finer things of life is to be outdoors and experiencing the grandeur of Mother Nature.


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