Grand Forks photographer Russ Hons is becoming quite well-known for his spectacular sports shots. But recently, he decided to take a ride into the countryside, since there were no action sports that night, so he could practice his action shooting.
It is such a busy time at Red Oak House. So much is happening in the garden. More on that later.
But first, this past weekend was filled with the gift of family. My sister, Sarah, brought my daughter, Rachel, from Dickinson, N.D., for the weekend. Sunday, my day started with brunch with my daughters and husband. They presented me with perhaps the nicest Mother’s Day gift I’ve ever received, a print of one of my daughter’s standout photographs of a wild stallion taken in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Then we had my mother and my sisters over for a picnic of fried chicken and the fixings on the patio and sat and visited, honoring the tradition much like so many across the U.S. Our good-natured husbands and my nephew, Ryan Walby, joined in on the fun, but dodged the picture-taking.
There are new blossoms in the garden daily. After company left, I completed the hard labor of dividing and moving daylilies as per my notes of last summer. There is already so much new growth on the daylilies that it is difficult to cut them back and dig them up, but this is what must be done. I make a mental note and confer with my sister, and we hope to confine our future dividing to fall instead. (Last fall, we were too busy settling our mother into her new apartment to get to it).
I brought a huge vase of lilacs into our bedroom and sent home a vaseful with my mother as this is perhaps her favorite flower.
New birds in the yard this weekend were the yellow warbler and a least flycatcher. This evening, I captured this charming one-minute video of the house wren adding material to the wren house. In this case, he is placing a blossom from the crabapple tree to pad his nest. I would have liked to have captured his song, but oh well …
Now it is time to turn attention to pulling off the rummage sale this weekend I’ve been planning for months. I’ve not held one for about 12 years, and the last time I said I’d never do it again, and this time I’m saying I’ll never do it again. It is nice to have the basement clean and tidy. Wish me luck!
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13
Speaking for myself, I cannot fathom all “mysteries.” I can only give thanks for the blessings I’ve been given.
I think of this as I savor the quietness of my backyard. Last week, I heard the season’s first brown thrasher on my block, with his lusty and complicated song. Wednesday, the first house wren heralded his arrival, and Jim came home from fishing with stories of a mystery bird call they’d heard and a request that I try to solve that puzzle. I deduced black-billed cuckoo and played the call for him on Audubon Pro app on my Google Pixel phone.
This time of year, we do not play the stereo nor listen to much music. Instead we listen to the birdsong or just … nothing. Sometimes, we have the flyover of an jet, the occasional National Guard helicopter, our cell phone’s insistent jangle, the neighbor’s yapping daschund (the poor beast hooked up on a leash ALL DAY LONG).
Mostly it is instead the mourning dove, the chipping sparrow and my favorite, the house wren. The wrens are busily adding twigs to the wren house on our back patio. As I write this, I’m listening to his complicated and joyful song, over and over and over, which he will sing without ceasing all the daylight hours for the next couple of months.
Gentle reader, it is my hope for you that you enjoyed some sunshine in your day. I’ve poured a glass of wine and I’m now going to enjoy it on my patio, and listen to the birds.
Bald eagles are majestic birds, as is evidenced by these spectacular images shot by Grand Forks photographer Russ Hons. (Check out more photos from Russ Hons here.)
Birds, birds, birds! That’s what Grand Forks photographer Russ Hons exclaimed while working west of Grand Forks recently. (Check out more photos from Russ Hons here.)
Merlins, also called pigeon hawks, breed in the northern Holarctic, with some migrating to subtropical and northern tropical regions in winter. In recent decades, merlin populations in North America have been significantly increasing, with some merlins becoming so well adapted to city life that they forgo migration. Swift fliers and skilled hunters, merlins specialize in preying on small birds. If you have seen them in your neighborhood, it may explain why your bird feeder is seeing very little action.