Planting Flowers and Listening to Birds

Later in the morning, I spent a couple of hours outside planting flowers – yellow lantana around the mailbox and some yellow and pink lantana in another sunny spot beside the driveway. It felt great to be working outside, the sun warm, the soil easy to work after an overnight rain and full of earthworms. As I planted, Chimney Swifts twittered overhead. A Red-shouldered Hawk cried kee-yer high up in a blue and white sky. A Chipping Sparrow trilled from its favorite small stand of pines; a Pine Warbler and Red-eyed Vireo sang from the edge of the woods; a Louisiana Waterthrush from around the creek; and a Summer Tanager from somewhere way down the street. From a shrubby area with tall pines around the edge of the yard, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher called spee, and from deeper in the woods, came the crisp, cool chick-brrr calls of a Scarlet Tanager.

Meanwhile, on the back deck, among pots of geraniums, ferns and a hydrangea in bloom, a pair of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds made frequent visits to the feeder. A Mourning Dove cooed. A Red-bellied Woodpecker rattled, and another called quurrr. American Goldfinch, Carolina Chickadees and Tufted Titmice all came to the birdbaths for water, and a Carolina Wren took a long, leisurely bath and then sat on a shepherd’s crook that holds a hanging fern to preen for a good long time, combing its bill vigorously through its breast feathers, under the wings, on the wings – then going back for another fluttering dip and another, repeating the process.

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