I was busy with to-do's when Tom said the magic words Wednesday evening: Painted Bunting. That's all it took to get me to trade the vacuum cleaner for my camera and join him on the front porch.
We sat in rocking chairs angled toward the bird feeder. For more than an hour we sat and rocked and watched and laughed and whispered.
We're easily entertained.
Then he left to go hunt snakes and snapping turtles and I sat there alone until the no-see-ums started biting my ankles. It was too dark for any more photos, anyway.
I learned a lot sitting there. Birds are big chickens, for one thing. Well, I already knew that from past porch-sitting-bird-watching experiences.
But what I didn't realize until yesterday evening is that bird parents celebrate empty nests much like human parents. The Buntings chased each other all over the woods, taking turns to stop by the feeder for a snack (keeping a watchful eye on us, of course.) The Cardinals and Mexican Jays did the same thing.
I suspect they were exhilirated by the sheer freedom and sense of success an empty nest symbolizes!
Here are a few highlights seen from my rocking chair on the front porch...
A movement in the woods caught my eye - a bunny!
I also spotted these squirrels playing in the distance.
A solitary daisy decorating my front yard.
At 8 o'clock at night it finally dropped below 100 degrees.
And now, the star of the show... Mr. Painted Bunting
Mrs. Painted Bunting was harder to catch... she didn't trust us at all.
This one is still a bit of a mystery. Perhaps a house finch?
Mr. Cardinal... the biggest chicken of them all. I'm sure this is not his best portrait.
Mrs. Cardinal was pretty shy herself.
But Baby Cardinal had some attitude!
The Mexican Jays used to be big chickens, too, but they were bold Wednesday evening. Maybe they've finally gotten used to me.
It just added to the magic of the evening.
"In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence" - Robert Lynd