A ceaseless rustle of wings

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I knew without being able to see them that a few thousand feet up, there would be star-reading birds migrating north out of this heat toward our unrolling Wyoming mountain summer: owls, thrushes, orioles, sparrows. I knew that for some birds, migration is almost all they do, nonstop, hundreds of miles north, hundreds of miles south, back and forth, a ceaseless rustle of wings, years shaved off their wild lives with all the effort of near perpetual motion. Once, twenty-five years ago, camping near a waterfall on the Zambian border with Zaire, I had caught a glimpse of a distant flock of birds traveling at night against a full moon, fleeting black cut-out shapes, intent on destination. Often since then, I’ve searched the night sky, and although I have caught the brief twist of bats flitting through currents of insects, I have never again seen that nighttime miracle of birds, secretly stitching together south and north with their hunger, with their collective, insistent, mounting realization of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. […]

And in any case, what life had taught me is that where we come from is a point— not the starting point, not the defining point— just a point. It’s where we are that really counts.

~ Alexandra Fuller, Leaving Before the Rains Come


Photo: Joe Chan

Nest


Watch. For 120 seconds.


4:59:57. 4:59:58. 4:59:59. 5:00:00 Bell!

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Source: Galapagos Albatross Mating dance @ Nichijou. Don’t miss youtube video here.

Sunday Morning: An epic spectacle on par with the annual wildebeest migration

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Charu Suri @wsj.com: Have You Ever Seen the Crane?

North America’s sandhill crane migration is one of the world’s greatest natural spectacles. To witness these frequent flyers on their favorite plains, head to Nebraska now.

From mid-February to mid-April (peaking during the last few weeks of March), the densest influx of migrating sandhill cranes descends on Nebraska. 80% of the planet’s crane population, 650,000 birds, have been making seasonal stopovers in the region for at least 10,000 years, an epic spectacle on par with the annual wildebeest migration in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

These slate-colored winged beauties with crimson foreheads and cream-colored cheeks gather along the sinuous, braided channels of the Platte River, which offer them protection from predators, and feast on corn left on the fields after harvest until not a kernel remains…(In a perfectly symbiotic dynamic, the cranes help the farmers by leaving them a clean field ready for planting the following year.)

I could hear the distinctive, low and throaty call of the crane — as insistent as cicada song — even through the closed windows of our car. (The song of one sandhill crane can carry well over a mile.)…It sounded as if an avian orchestra was tuning up just a few feet away, as a blend of sharp trills and lush cooing filled the air. Though the sun had not yet risen, I could make out the silhouettes of wings and of reedlike legs supporting the birds’ hefty bluish-grey frames. A few frisky, early rising males did the mating dance, flapping their wings and leaping a few feet into the air like giddy, light-footed schoolboys, while the females seemed to look on approvingly. But most of the cranes were still asleep, their heads tucked under their wings…The entire scene was accompanied by what sounded like countless chamber orchestras riffing simultaneously on Stravinsky.

Fun Facts on Sandhill Cranes: Sandhill cranes travel up to 10,000 miles, as many as 500 per day, on their annual migration from the Southern U.S. and Mexico. Their wingspan: 6.5 feet for adults. Their average height: Just under four feet for adults. Special Talent: They are known for their ability to dance. Like humans, they boogie to find a mate, relieve tension and just for fun.

Read more here: Have You Ever Seen the Crane?


Photo by Siena62 taken near Kearney, NE

Tuesday Morning Wake Up Call: A Gentle Take-Off

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Source: Julien Douvier via Elinka, The Unsuccessful Housewife

Help, Thanks, Wow Rebecca!

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I’ve just finished the  first of Rebecca Sonlit’s new collection of 29 essays titled The Encyclopedia of Trouble and SpaciousnessMimi uses the word “transported.” I was this. And what came to mind after finishing the first essay was Anne Lamott’s Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers

  • HELP! Help God, help me write this well*. (I’ll need 3000 prayers and still not sure He would have the requisite raw material to shape this putty.)
  • THANKS! Thank you Rebecca for this sharing this wondrous talent.
  • WOW! As I sit here reading and re-reading passages. Wow!

Here’s a few excerpts from her expedition to the Arctic Circle titled Cyclopedia of an Arctic Expedition. [Read more…]

Mur. Mur. Murmur. Magnificent.

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“Tens of thousands of starlings start their murmuration, with Criffel mountain in the background, as dusk fell last night (November 5, 2014) on the England and Scotland border near Gretna Green.”


 

Cold

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As if to spare the birds at the feeder
any more competition than they already have
a snowflake drops right past the perches
crowded with finches, nuthatches, sparrows,
and without even thinking to open its wings
settles quietly onto the ground.

~ Ted Kooser. December 23, Cold. Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison


Credits: Snowflake photograph – Snowflakes and Snow Crystals by Alexey Kljatov. (45° F this morning. Cold is coming.)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

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Source: Twins by Dayagembira via Radiating Blossom. Thank you Carol.

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: Hellooooooo. You up yet?

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Source: Themetapicture.com