Early Signs of Spring

Yep indeed, it’s been a hard winter for most of us here in the U.S.  I can’t complain too loudly, as those on the east coast have certainly taken the brunt of Old Man Winter this year.   But we’ve had our share of the white stuff, and the semi-white stuff and the just plain wet stuff.  A sunny day or two mixed in would have been most welcome.  But nope, Old Man Winter had other ideas…(gotta love him!)

Finally, the grip of winter loosened just long enough to throw in some spring teasers.   I of course, just can’t stay indoors for these.   So I set out with camera in hand and dogs by my side to see what in the holy heck was going on in the wilds around me.

It didn’t take long to stumble upon my first good find, a Cooper’s Hawk pair starting the early spring nest building process.  Actually, they have made some real progress, as the nest is substantial enough for one of them to actually climb into it.  Both the male and female just posed and posed for me.  I LOVE it when that happens!  I’d swear that some animals actually want to be in paintings…If you pose for me, I’ll photograph you.  If I photograph you and like what I get, I will likely paint you!


(below) A close up look at that pretty raptor face.  Note the bright blue sky.  We have not seen one of these in awhile.   That alone  was worth the picture!

Cooper’s Hawks are commonly referred to has “Chicken Hawks”.   They are unusually strong for their size and have been known to kill and carry off something as large as a barnyard chicken!  So it goes without saying that most other birds are not happy to see one of these!   This pair was enduring the wild bombardment of Blue Jays when I found them.  Undaunted, the hawks just ignored those pesty jays, almost regarding them as if they were annoying flies that continuously buzz around your picnic lunch sandwich.   “Beat-it, you bratty blues, or I will make lunch out of YOU!”


My next good find came this morning.     In a giant sycamore tree there are a cluster of between 15 and 20 huge nests that were built by Great Blue Herons last year.  This tree is nearly six stories tall and stands mixed into the woodland right by the river’s edge.  The herons must have been quite satisfied with the location, as this year they have returned and are currently undergoing the process of high-rise remodeling.  The tree is full of these huge birds again, all busy with a decor update.  The birds work as a group and help to build the entire nest community together.  I don’t know how the process of choosing who gets what high rise condo in the end occurs.

(Below) A nest is built one twig at a time…


Hmmmmm, this nest is looking pretty good, but could use a bit more substance on the back side…


This heron appears to be taking a break.  In every group there is a slacker…


Meanwhile, my patient companions waited in the woods as I slid down muddy river banks and moved all around to get a better vantage point of the heron tree.   You are good dogs…  When I’m done taking pictures, we will finish our walk!  … I promise…

And that we did…