Monday, April 14, 2008

Feathered Sunshine and Crimson Chase

It's typical Baltimore spring - a couple days of open-all-the-windows warmth, and then back to temperatures in the 50's. The backyard is alive with color, movement, and sound. The pre-dawn chorus of chirps and trills has grown from a lone cheep-cheep to something that sounds more like an orchestra of flutes and piccolos tuning up. Soon I won't be able to find them as the trees turn from blush to pale green to full leaf.

I was standing at the sink yesterday when a flash of bright yellow caught my eye. Without a thistle feeder we rarely have yellow finches, but there he was - a still mottled but unquestionably bright yellow finch - clinging to the feeder and poking at it for something worth eating. A smaller, drabber version of him alit on the feeder pole, then hopped to the rail. And then they both zipped away.

It must be the connection to New Hampshire that makes me exclaim everytime I see one of these little flying lemons. My grandmother always loved them, calling them "drops of sunshine," as they flitted among the trees at the lake front cottage. They are good memory birds for me.

So of course I'm looking for them today, but instead I'm seeing games of chase in both feathers and fur. Two brilliant cardinals are chasing each other around the yard - is it a game or a dogfight between rivals? I can't tell, but it's delightful to watch. Two squirrels are scrambling from deck to ground to trees. And the robins are everywhere. My neighbor's hydrangea is showing tufts of green on the dried stalks of last year's bush. A rabbit is checking out the suddenly-green lawn.

And it's time for me to get to work, but now with a much improved Monday mind.

The photos, alas, are not mine, but come from stock.xchng (www.sxc.hu)

4 comments:

Sandpiper said...

A wonderful post! It looks like you're surrounded by wildlife. All great pictures, but I love the shot of the squirrel in mid-air!

Peg Silloway said...

Thanks so much - wish I could take credit for the shot, but it's not mine. However, yesterday I watched a squirrel playing tag with a cardinal, jumping from fence to tree to tree. The cardinal won ;-)

Sandpiper said...

How cute! I love watching the birds and animals in my yard, too.

Mary said...

Peg,

If we all would just take 5 or 10 minutes before starting our workday to watch outdoor life, we'd all be sweeter people! The male Cardinals are battling over the love...

Your typical Baltimore spring sounds like our spring in Charlotte. Our winters are mild but we have ups and downs during these months. 80 one day - 50 the next.

Enjoy the flying lemons. So cute.

Mary