Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Robins Return!

Robin 1
Large view

The robins have returned to our neighborhood in their northward migration. I believe we are now getting the male scouts in advance of our annual onslaught. If all goes as scheduled, hundreds more (at least) will follow, wheeling overhead in massive flocks, swooping ahead of traffic, and congregating on lawns.

Large view

Robin 2

A birdhouse near the robins has a guest, though I can't tell what species. This shot was the best I could manage.

Bird Box with Occupant
Large size

A wayward killdeer (not photographed) joined the throng. I normally don't see them in the neighborhood.

Mary and I headed to the retention pond near our post office. Churned up from recent construction, the pond doesn't seem as bird-friendly as it once was. We did, however, spot a little blue heron checking out the site.

Little Blue Heron 1
Large view

Egretta caerulea. Says eNature, "This is one of the most numerous herons in the Southeast and may be observed in large mixed concentrations of herons and egrets. It eats more insects than the larger herons and is sometimes seen following a plow to pick up exposed insect larvae. Adults usually forage alone, stalking the marshes for prey, but immatures tend to feed in groups, their white plumage serving as a signal, drawing distant birds together at good foraging places. Unlike the egrets, it has no fancy plumes and was thus spared by plume hunters."

Little Blue Heron 2
Large view

Our recent hard freeze has not been kind to the swamp lilies outside a local apartment complex. A member of the Amaryllis Family, the swamp lily blooms all year, passing repeatedly in its life cycle from this (photographed in October 2005):

Swamp Lily

to this (photographed one month later):

Pods in Bondage

and back again. On Tuesday those plants looked like this:

Swamp Lilies After Hard Freeze

They still retain a bit of green, but I'm not sure they can recover.

I saw these berries further down the perimeter of the complex:

Berries, species TBD

Closer to home, our neighbor's orange trees seem to be doing well.

Oranges 2

Oranges 1

In other news, my poem "Total Lunar Eclipse" has been accepted for reprinting at Astropoetica. I don't know when it will go live, but you can read that fine zine here. The poem originally appeared in Aurora #23, Winter 1983-84.

Elissa Malcohn's Deviations and Other Journeys

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