.......and Reflections

Monday, December 10, 2012

Guilty As Charged!

Well, lets see...... it's been 5 months and not a single post. I have been accused of falling off the face of the earth. That will only happen if the earth is proven to be flat or if gravity is somehow interrupted or disproved.

I am afraid I am simply guilty of practicing what I preach. Since I have moved to Trumbull County, Ohio in the far northeast part of the state, I have been busy prospecting for "the middle of nowhere", wherever I can find it. I am happy to report that this region is rich in wild places and the bird life is awesome.

I can't deny that the trials and tribulations of adjusting to a new home and a new community hasn't gobbled up plenty of time. But the truth lies in my passion for birds and the magnificent places these creatures take me.

As you well know, no place on earth is at rest. All places change with time and seasons. The middle of nowhere is also dynamic and I have been immersing myself in the changing seasons of the wild places around me. Should I ever be convicted of a heinous crime such as neglecting to post on my blog, I will accept the "immersing in nature" penal code sentence any time!

Honestly, I am sorry that I haven't posted. I have so many awesome experiences I want to share so readers might get going on creating their own awesome experiences. There have been several great experiences over the last 5 months that more than justify my addiction to the great outdoors. I will Blog on and balance that with the inspiration of wild places and wild things.

I'm back and I'm committed to writing and hopeful you will read my blog and that you too will immerse yourself in your "middle of nowhere".

I will share with you a recent experience that speaks to wild things, wild places, the spoils of changing seasons and the gifts provided by our natural systems.

The story begins with a failed seed crop in the far north of North America. These cyclic and rather uncommon phenomena cause bird species depended on abundant seed crops in the frigid northern winters, to disperse south in search of food supplies essential to survival.

Birds uncommon or absent from places like Ohio begin to appear in seed bearing conifers like Spruce and Pine. Some show up in weed fields, or foraging among fruiting plants and trees. Some of these birds include Common Redpolls, Hoary Redpoll, Evening Grosbeak, Red Crossbills, White-winged Crossbills, and other northerly birds.

I was traveling a 40 mile route through Mosquito Creek and Grand River Wildlife Areas. I t was a along a quiet, little traveled road that crosses through a mixture of private and public areas. I saw a bird perched atop a White Pine tree. I didn't see it well enough to identify it but its perch atop the tree caused me to wonder.

I turned my trusty Toyota truck around to get another look but the bird was gone. Out of the corner of my eye I saw an unknown bird drop from atop another tree on the other side of the road. The bird landed in a multi flora rosebush 20 feet in front of me and began pulling rose hips and gobbling them down.

I was astonished to see an unmistakable Bohemian Waxwing right there in front of me. This is a bird I have never seen in Ohio in 42 years of birding. I have seen 4 before: one in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, another in northern Minnesota, and a pair in the Rocky Mountain Foothills of Glacier National Park.

I watched it, grabbed my camera and took not-so-good pictures through my not-so-good windshield of the truck. I looked at this beautiful bird as long as I could. Within a few short minutes the bird flew away and after several attempts over a number of days searching by myself and others, the lone Waxwing was never relocated.

This was a "middle of nowhere" experience. The Bohemian Waxwing is the very signature of American wilderness. It is rare where it lives and even rarer where it travels in search of food in lean years. This is a perfect example of where pure luck collides with being in the right place at the right time. It is about knowing what things are rare. It is about understanding the life histories of species. It is an opportunity seeing first hand, a natural event.

The lucky things can happen to anyone. No practice required. Putting one's self in a position to appreciate the good fortune, is a testament to investing time studying nature and immersing yourself in "The Middle of Nowhere".

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