Non Birding Bill and I went out today to enjoy the sun and had the best intentions to install several bird houses for a friend and document it via video, but we just did not get that far. I fell into that clever trap that mother nature seems to set for us every March, by giving us a wonderfully warm day when you can smell the wet earth coming alive and snow turns to cold mud. And then you are reminded that winter still has a grip. I tried putting an auger into the ground to mount some 4x4 posts for wood duck boxes and we were only able to get them half way into the ground--grrrrr. We tried all sorts of things: hot water, both of us twisting at the same time, four letter words--it just wouldn't budge. The pond we are aiming for is iced up, so I think if we go back two weeks from today we can get them the rest of the way in, the pond will be open and we should get our friends some wood ducks. I did get the bluebird houses and chickadee houses (that's one pictured right) up and running. I felt like the bluebird was on my back as soon as we got there. I think Lang Elliot normally describes bluebirds as saying, "Cheer, cheerful, charmer" this one was saying, "Where's my freakin' box?"
Even though the ground was frozen solid, spring was definetly making it's presence known. We saw lots of snow fleas and a few Milbert's tortoiseshell--that butterfly was pretty cool, it looked like it had an orange, glowing cat eye on each wing. Juncoes were trilling all over the edge of the woods, almost sounding uncertain if they should head north or just make a go of it a little further south than usual. Woodpeckers were drumming and swooping. The female hairy woodpecker below was listening intently to some drumming of a male hairy.
As we were filming I started hearing sandhill cranes way off in the distance. When they sounded like they were overhead I started searching the endless blue sky. After some searching I finally found the flocks joining into a thermal, high in the air. NBB was getting more impatient and wanted to continue filming. He asked in an irritated tone, "Can you stop birdwatching?!?" To which I gave the automatic reply, "I don't know, can you stop breathing?" I think the snotty/smarty pants tone of voice I used helped bring the conversation up to the next level. Ah, married life.
Lorraine walked by, she was recovering from a weekend of heavy music making, having gigged with the Tim Malloys as soon as she came home from a visit to LA. I excitedly pointed out the sandhill cranes overhead and she groggily, yet cheerily replied, "I'll get right on that" and disappeared behind the garage.