Thursday, March 28, 2013

Gifts of the Earth

Sometimes the first few days of Spring feel like a series of presents from the Earth. Even though I am often just doing errands and not really birding, my mother taught me that it is rude to ignore an offered gift. So, this morning while I stood waiting for Shine the Whippet mix girl to finish her business, I got goosebumps watching a group of three Red-tailed Hawks soar over head, followed shortly by a Sandhill Crane. Then I was roaring down 38th Avenue on my way to Kalamazoo, when out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed something white out in the corn stubble. Some quick action on the brakes and the letter R on the gear shift got me into position to see these guys. You can't really see the yellow spot on the bill in the photo, but it was obvious through binocs. 

Tundra Swans, Van Buren County

I did make it to Kalamazoo eventually, and on the way home decided to make a quick stop at Briggs' Pond in Paw Paw. Lucky for me, it is on the way! : ) In addition to a few coots, I saw a few of these guys - this one looked like he was just climbing out of his winter bed in the bottom of the pond.

Painted Turtle, Briggs' Pond
Earlier in the week conditions were definitely more winter like. We saw this Sandhill Crane at Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery on Monday. You can barely see our first Green-winged Teal of the season facing away from the camera a little to the right of the crane.

Sandhill Crane, Green-winged Teal and Gadwall, Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery
And these Northern Shovelers standing on the ice at Three Oaks Ponds on Saturday were wondering what happened to the water.

Northern Shovelers and Ring-billed Gull, Three Oaks
Come to think of it, it feels like this week I had a front-row seat to the show I have been looking forward to all winter - The Coming of Spring. Don't change the channel now, folks. The show is just getting started!

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