Birding Notes

Reflections on birds and other wildlife on the edge of a southern woodland

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In Rain and More Rain – A Wren in a Puddle, and a Cooper’s Hawk Passing By

After several days out of town, I returned home this weekend to more rainy weather. Sunday night and Monday a hard rain fell for hours and hours. Some streets in town were flooded, and the creeks that run through the woods below our house rushed with high water. But, I have to say, the rain made beautiful music to sleep by, and a drowsy background for the song of a Phoebe as I woke up Monday morning.

Yesterday brought a break of sunshine and blue sky, then the rain returned, and it rained all night again, this time soft but steady. When I stepped outside this morning, everything looked drenched and dripping, with puddles and streams all over, and a very soft rain that continued for most of the day. All the usual suspects were around – Chickadee, Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Downy and Red-bellied Woodpecker, Phoebe, Mourning Dove, Blue Jay, House Finch and a pair of Brown-headed Nuthatches that come often every day to the feeder. Mockingbirds continue to sing off and on throughout the day, not usually for long at a time. A Northern Flicker called kleeer! from the woods across the road, and a bright red Cardinal perched high among pecan leaves now beginning to turn crusty yellow-green. Some leaves have begun to fall from pecans and oaks and sweet gums, washed down by the rain and showering down with acorns when a gust of wind blows through.

Early in the afternoon, as a misty rain continued, a Carolina Wren bathed in very shallow puddles of water on the deck and deck rails. It lay down in the water and fluttered and turned, then stood up tall to shake off, looked around, bobbed up and down, then it flitted to another shallow puddle and bathed again, repeating the process three or four times before shaking off for the final time. Then it spent some time checking out the umbrella, table and chairs, and all along the underside of the deck rail, looking for spiders and insects.

Although I went for a pleasant walk in the rain and checked outside several times, most of today seemed quiet, with not a lot of activity and nothing new to report until late in the afternoon. The rain had drizzled to a near-stop, but the sky was still dark and gray. I walked out on the back deck to take a break from work, but nothing much seemed to be happening. The trees appeared to be empty. The big dogwood at the edge of the woods is heavy with lots of bright red berries, but no birds were around them. Then a Cooper’s Hawk flew over, a dark gray shape against the lighter, murky clouds, long narrow tail and broad wings flapping with somewhat heavy beats, and gliding, sailing over, a silent but substantial shadow in the mist.


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