Bird watching – flagrant voyeurism

A huge wild cherry tree near our house broke into full bloom around the middle of May. 

 

Baltimore Oriole coupleSo when I saw a pair of Baltimore Orioles cavorting in its branches, I thought they were eating the cherry blossoms.  In the past, I’ve caught only glimpses of these orioles, a rare sight in the spring.  But now I started seeing them every day.  The flashes of bright orange yellow through the spring green canopy were easy to spot.
The more I watched the pair, the more I wondered why they seemed to return to the same place in the tree, the edge of some hanging branches.  The aha moment was thrilling…they were building a nest!

This is no ordinary nest! It is large and spacious, a woven sack suspended from the cherry tree branches. I had seen a nest like this on someone else’s property before. For years, I kept looking for one on my property, without success. And just like that, a nest was materializing before my very eyes, in viewing distance from my front porch. The gods had granted me my wish.

About a week later, as the cherry blossoms were way past their prime, I mostly saw the male flitting back and forth while the female must have started laying her eggs. Here you can see the male with food in its beak sitting close to the nest.

male oriole with food by nest

He then hopped on the opening of the nest and may have been feeding his wife sitting on her eggs.

male on top of nest

However, every once in a while, the missus was out and about herself and managed to catch a big, fat caterpillar here:

female oriole with caterpillar

One morning, as I sipped my coffee on the porch, I saw a small bird chasing a larger bird of prey. Through my binoculars, I recognized the male oriole who defended his territory against a potential nest robber. He was brave and fierce, dive bombing the much larger bird…and victorious in chasing the other bird away.

Watching this pair of orioles construct their home and defend it against would-be invaders has been a true gift. It made me think of all the work and effort that we invested in building our home, our own cozy nest, and how privileged we are to be enjoying its comforts and safety….along with the front seat voyeur’s view of the wildlife around us.

Posted in Animals and Critters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Dialogue with the Body

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Originally posted on The Beauty Along the Road:
I watched two swans go through their lengthy preening process, cleaning and smoothing their feathers with the help of their beak. How did they know which feathers needed tidying up and re-arranging?…

Gallery | 7 Comments

The Dance of the Peacock

This gallery contains 12 photos.

Originally posted on The Beauty Along the Road:
Stranded in Florida for 24 hours because the airline cancelled my connecting flight, I found the nearest botanical gardens for entertainment. Indian peacocks paraded around the grounds delighting visitors with their size…

Gallery | 16 Comments

A Burst of Color in Winter

When I look out my window and see the bright colors of our wood shed, it makes me smile.

Winter’s color palette is notoriously limited, especially on a dreary, sunless day.

A reminder of summer’s vivid tones helps to soothe the longing for warmer weather.

Debbie’s Six Word Saturday.

 

Posted in Appalachia | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

Simplifying the Not-So-Simple Life

I shared this post today in a Facebook discussion, then realized that I have many new readers who have come on board in the last 4 years since I wrote this post. It is still as relevant today as ever.

The Beauty Along the Road

When my husband and I decided to leave congested Washington, DC behind and pursue the “simple life” in the country, we really didn’t know what we were getting into.

fields in summer

Our property consisted of fields and woods – no road, no water, no electricity, no house. But – no problem – we had a road built, a well drilled, underground electric cables and telephone lines installed. We built our house while we were living in a 30-foot travel trailer. Living in a trailer is conducive to the simple life: there is so little space that you can’t add anything beyond the essentials. You make do with a small kitchen space and a small shower stall.

many uses for a tractor

Developing a property and building a house is anything but simple. And in the process, you acquire things, lots of things. For starters, you need a tractor and all its necessary attachments. Then you need a…

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