If you have never visited 'my patch', perhaps it is time to do so. My patch is about 15 acres of land although adjacent to a much larger patch of land. Egg Harbor Township has designated a Nature Refuge off of Zion Road, and if you take the right turn from Zion onto School House Road, you will find the Egg Harbor Township Arboretum. It is here at this arboretum that I call, 'my patch'.
This has been a great spring...going into summer. The birds are about. What I am finding fascinating is not the bird species in numbers but the behavior I am witnessing and the growth of all.
For instance.....there is a pair of breeding Cedar Waxwings and over the course of a month or two, I have seen their 'cupped' nest grow from just 'nothing' to a definite 'cup' full of seedlings and small branches and leaves. I have found that to approach I have to do so with stealth for they spook easy. I approach from the wee side (whatever that might be) and slowly come up to them. About midway in the tree the nest exists. Usually at 7-8am both pairs are in the nests, and as of yet....no young. Perhaps eggs? Not sure. But once I turn the bend and am in full view, one of them always flies off. The other might just hide in the nest, a bit out of sight with the exception of the yellow bar on the tail presenting itself to me as if saying 'I am here....do you see me?". Then, without much warning it will find itself perched in a nearby branch; same tree. I can hardly wait for the young to come about, a new season...a new year for many.
Then the rabbits.... I love em...some you can approach and others you can't. I often wonder who will live and who will become food. But as I approach some, they will scurry away and find a hidden gem of a tunnel, gently carved in the bushes. There....they disappear beyond my sight and carefully wait for me to leave.
A few Brown Thrashers will use the entire 15 acres...two juveniles and one adult. They usually are on the ground or near it. The juveniles want to find their own food....and the adult will toss the leaves like a towhee and within a few seconds come out with a chunky grub of sorts.
Many wrens....some House, some Carolina. And by some...I mean...quite a sum. The juveniles fight for the adults attention as a worm or fat insect in mouth, they are fed..... or spit upon. But in either case, the wrens are very active....
Northern Cardinals abound...I have seen a flock of 3-4 males race across any one area. Females abound, skirting around trees usually a step or two behind their partner. The juveniles will bother their elders.... I saw one over a fallen tree which overlaid the trail. The adult male would perch and the juvenile would do like. Like father...like son.
I saw a lone Indigo bunting the other day.....At first I thought to myself it was just the Bluebirds which entwine themselves between the arboretum and the power line open area.... they have a house there you see. But in this case the Indigo was just perched on a limb, just enough time was spent there for me to view and say...'wow, an indigo bunting'
Orchard Orioles abound....some dressed all orange and black...ready for Halloween I suppose while the younger counterparts are in yellow and black. Pretty cool to watch. Try it one day.....
There is one pair of Mourning Warblers.... they like to be more ground orientated and stay in the bushes. I will walk the trail and see a bush wobble and sway, just a bit.....and as I pause in mid-step, I see the Warblers playing in the seed reeds.....
Robins....did I mention robins? Why are robins so tame and use to humans while other birds shy away? But a dime a dozen they are here...adult and young and a blue egg or two spread out on the ground like a star shining in the night.....
When approaching the water...I might see an Osprey take a quick swim and come up with a fish or not.... I might see a Forester's Tern do the same..... or the gulls or geese. A Mallard might do a fly by too if I am lucky.
Catbirds meow and crows caw......Life moves forward day by day here; my patch. I am lucky to see this growth and change. I find myself in awe with each view as I come upon a nest of Red Winged Blackbirds buried within the tall reeds. They will talk to me and pretend that the nest does not exist. They are good at bellowing out and the females, like all of that Red Winged Variety will confuse the newbie into thinking, who are they, or what type of bird is that?
A wild turkey cross my path the other day...... just one. I am sure the others were there looking at me with there face cocked just a bit to gain a good glance at 'to whom' might be here.
Did I mention the Great Crested Flycatcher? I witnessed one the other day in a bush....not sure if he knew enough about me but I did of it. I saw it sit on a branch and by turning it's head, skewed one way or there, it inspected all the branches around .....finding that tasty morsel of an upside down insect hidden on the understory of any one leaf. Then it would hop to another branch, oh...let's say just 4-5 feet and do the same. Again, just like the moon might rise or the sun set.....the same would repeat.
So...my patch.... I do love it.... Same birds. I know who is there. I know where they are to be found and might even take attendance one day as if in school. For now though, I now just relish in not the numbers, but the birds I have come to have known this past spring. Join me.... in my patch.