• Dale Bowman

A bittern & yes, no goslings: Ramble with the Lady

The big surprise this morning was hearing, then finding a bittern, up in a tree of all places, near the south old old clay pit. It is hard to miss the rather distinctive call of a bittern.

Click here to hear the call from

That was a nice surprise. I believe that is a first in my morning rambles. I have night herons and green herons, but I think that is the first bittern I remember.

Spring is filled with its usual surprises, if that is not an oxymoron, and the usual advance of life.

A pair of rabbits, doing or thinking about doing what comes naturally, split and bolted their separate ways down the alley behind the bus barn as Lady, our family's mutt, and I rambled off. The usual racket of robins and mourning doves filtered in from all sides.

By the ball field on the edge of town, the frost was thick. If my count is right, that is the fourth frost in the last week and a half. That is ridiculous this time of year.

The extended cold has held morels in check so far. My find count is exactly and precisely 0 morels found so far.

Crossing the side rail separating the town from the wildness of the town pond; I savored the wonder of a male cardinal that stayed put on a tree until I was within just a few feet. That put a splash of red on the morning.

The usual red-winged blackbirds trilled around the town pond. And geese were on all the nests that I know of. And yes, no goslings, though this is generally the week the majority of geese hatch out around the town pond.


Back in town, I savored another moment when I spotted a Sun-Times, a newspaper people actually read and don't just have thrown at the end of their driveways, stuffed on the dashboard of a pickup in the front of the steering wheel.

At the alley behind the bus barn, a free-ranging housecat, one of those slaughtering machines, sprinted into the yard with all the bird feeders. Aptly enough.

We were gone long enough that the rising sun had warmed the air to something more rational for this time of year, maybe 40 degrees.

That rapid warming is another sign of spring, the sun is higher in the sky and earlier up in the morning.

We march on.

Time marches on.

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