Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lewdly Sing Cuckoo

Spring is in full swing in the garden. I was very happy when the "Dawn Chorus" - the early morning challenges of the male birds protecting/proclaiming their territories, seeking a mate- started again after a long 6 months without significant birdsong. The term Dawn Chorus is a bit misleading, however. The chorus starts with the first gloaming- often around 4:00 am here when dawn is still a ways off. I have sometimes wakened a few birds if I have been working a late night in my studio and tripped the automatic spotlight on the garage as I make my way back to the house and my cozy bed. That gets a few of them going and lest they fall behind in their begetting, soon they are all cooing, chattering, rilling, riffing, fluting and gurgling away.
There is also the Evening Chorus, to put a nice roundedness to the day- especially now that the warblers are back. I haven't taken much time recently to just sit and watch for the birds and perhaps it is overdue. The fireflies will be starting soon also- always a welcome sight. My garden seems to be especially attractive to them- lots of shrubby bits and a pond. I have often sat on my screened porch with the lights off to watch them flit and flick through the darkening scene. Their sulphurous, dancing lights will soon garland the evenings- I look forward to that.
The screening mentioned above is essential- what makes the place so attractive to fireflies and birds also make it attractive to mosquitoes. On the upside, night-flying mosquitoes also mean bats, so I watch them career about and wish them excellent feasts.
The butterflies are back now too. Emperors, swallowtails of several types, mourning cloaks, and others. How do they manage to get anywhere? They are too subject to the breezes, endlessly blown off course. They do manage, of course, but I hope there is no room in their tiny brains for frustration.
I can't let this post go by without mentioning the bees- the chubby, lumbering, impossible, native bumblebees have been making the rounds of every flower- rolling around like tiny pigs in their golden wallows, impudently poking up the skirts of the more modest downward bells, busily dive-bombing the upward-facing blooms. They are joined by the orchard bees, the mason bees, a few wood bees and a few immigrants- the honeybees from a feral colony; but there's plenty for all, even if the Hummingbirds don't think so.

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