Of Rain And Change and Hummingbirds and Witches

turkeys perched in tree in the rainAs the rain comes down, a flock of seven or eight wild turkeys fly up into the trees alongside the stream for shelter. I hope that’s a good idea – a tree beside the pond has just fallen. Not right down. The trunk broke off and hit the ground but the upper branches caught in the trees beside it. There was no warning, and not even much wind, just a loud crack and down it fell. Those turkeys are huge, I hope the trees can take their weight. What a noise they make as they fly up one after the other.stormy clouds

Already the temperature is several degrees cooler. Such a relief after the hot humid days. The rain is flattening the straggly stems of the tansy which hasn’t flowered yet. An  artist neighbour gave me a pot of the plant years ago, to keep the witches away.

There’s a chickadee at the feeder. Yippee! In years past we would have said ‘oh, only a chickadee?’ but this year we’ve had so few birds visit that every feathered friend dropping by feels like a visit from the Queen. I still hear the birds in the woods of course, and am happy when I wake to their dawn chorus. Then I think of my mother calling me one morning after she first got hearing aids to tell me that there was still a dawn chorus. She’d thought that was a thing of the past, that the birds didn’t do that any more.

fallen treeIn fine weather hawks still circle high above. Plops around the pond as their shadows pass over and the frogs dive for cover. And every so often the crows sweep in by the dozen, cawing and circling, probably harassing some poor owl in the trees. I’ve been told never to admit to hearing an owl as then I’d be passing the bad spirit on to the person I tell.

Last year a pair of chipping sparrows spent the summer in the blackberry bushes on the slope beside the pond. They zapped to and fro across the pond and sang so cheerfully that I hoped they’d return. The blue jays always used to drop by at about 4.30 for an evening snack at the feeder, driving away the nuthatches and chickadees. And where are the woodpeckers? Have they gone deeper into the woods because of the building that’s been going on nearby? A young hairy woodpecker visited yesterday – the first since the winter – and to my amazement, even hopped into the little birdhouse beside the feeder. I’d always thought of the birdhouse as more ornamental than practical, and was surprised he could fit through the entrance hole!

I worry about the hummingbirds. They’ve come every summer for twenty years. I was so happy to see them when they arrived early in May this year, but that afternoon we had a surprise cold snap and late heavy snowstorm. We haven’t seen them since. We keep on refreshing the feeder for them, hoping.chicory

UPDATE! The day after writing this post (waiting for the library to open so I could go online), was just beautiful. I chose a different spot to sit beside the pond and – zoom… there went a pair of hummingbirds! I couldn’t believe it. Just shows – one shouldn’t give up hope. So glad they are back.

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