• Dale Bowman

Ramble with the Lady: Woodcock, mating rites, wall of avian sound & Wall of Sound

A wall of avian sound--cooing of mourning doves in all idrections, robins from trees and lawns, blackbirds and grackles in trees and flights by the dozen overhead, a few Canada geese cackling in the distance--washed around me and Lady, our family's mutt, as we rambled off this morning.

The wall of avian sound is not to be confused with Phil Spector's ``Wall of Sound,'' though maybe there is more connection than I think.

This has truly been the week when spring arrived. The wall of avian sound was the final pronouncement. (I kinda like that.)

At one point, hundreds of blackbirds or grackles passed overhead with much racket and ruckus of their own.

Yesterday we had a special moment on our morning ramble. As we walked down the trail, formerly a side rail, above the south end of the south old clay pit, a woodcock flushed. I have an affinity for woodcock.

I have only spotted timberdoodles, one of the coolest common names in the wilds, a few times in my 15 or so years of morning rambles around the town pond with the late much missed Flash, who came in a package deal with my wife, the late much missed Storm and now with Lady.

The most priceless part of this video may be the subtitles.

Spending an evening watching the displays of the aerial mating flights of woodcocks is something ever serious outdoorsman or woman should do at least once.

The most priceless part of this woodcock dance video is the comments.

Canada geese stood around on the ice of both pits looking rather forlorn and moronic. At least there is finally a bit of open water by the bridge over the neckdown between the two pits and by the island.

The pair that normally nests on the island, at least I assume it was them, were standing by the island. One goose grazed near the town's pile of yard waste.

Mourning doves flew off from many places. Dozens of robins were working any grassy area. The most red-winged blackbirds of the spring so far trilled all around the north pit.

Back in town, doves flushed off the wires on all blocks in the alley behind the bus barn. A blue jay squawked in the distance.

A Cooper's hawk glided at roof-top level over the yard with the feeders across from bus barn.

Into every idyllic moment reality intrudes, a wall of its own.

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