• Dale Bowman

Must be Friday & coots: Ramble with the Lady

Back downtown this morning, the sign in front of Station Street Pub caught my eye: "Cod, perch, tilapia, shrimp."

Must be Friday.

And yes our little town has one of the oldest shrines in the United States and a well-known Catholic church.

We all have our little claims to fame.

And we all have our little routines or rituals in life. Say rambling off in the morning with Lady, the family's mutt.

Finally spring truly felt like it was settling in. The air seemed fecund again. And warm. The sun shone with promise.

Why yes, it put a spring in my step.

I did not even try to count the robins bobbing and short flying around town. If I had tried to count, i bet it would be close to 100 or more this morning.

It was or is that kind of spring morning.

Didn't hear many mourning doves this morning. Not sure if that means they are all nesting or what. I know some faithful readers have already sent photos of nesting doves.

A little piece of natural knowledge: The reason doves nest multiple times each summer is that they are notoriously lousy nest builders. If you go out and look around after a spring or summer thunderstorm, the chances are good that the downed nests are dove nests.

I digress.

A woodpecker called down the street as we rambled off. Another one hammered away near the ball field on the edge of town. We had a big beautiful red-bellied woodpecker on our front porch a couple days ago. It even caught the eyes of the kids.

At first I did not see much as I crossed the side rail separating town from the wildness of the town pond.

But then I found them, 16 coots swimming on the north old clay pit. That is the third morning in a row that I found exactly 16 coots swimming on the north pit.

I have no idea why they are hanging around like this, what they find so intriguing on the north pit, but there they were again.

If you never tried counting coots, which have that goofy slow splashing take-off and also bob and dive, let me tell you it is quite the endeavor. But all three mornings I counted exactly 16.

Dozens of red-winged blackbirds trilled and trilled around the north pit. They were really going at it this morning. Maybe it was our timing, rambling off a few minutes later than usual, so the sun was actually up over the horizon already.

Sandpipers called on the far north end of the north pit. That always makes my day.

I have no idea what is going on with the Canada geese. No pair nested on the island on the south pit. Yet, I saw a lone goose swimming around with its neck stretched low on the water of the south pit. It looked forlorn, but I may be imposing my human emotions on it.

Back on the edge of town, a barn pigeon cooed atop the grain elevators. Then i counted six pigeons wheeling around the elevators.

Why yes, hello, Charles Demuth. You should expect nothing less.

One of these years, I will get Larry Green (hello there) to start on a grain elevator project.

There were only four grain cars on the side rail. None of them had any interesting graffiti.

A bit farther downtown from the Station Street Pub, the chef/cook, who runs the food truck for migrant and nursery workers, had just wheeled out his last load for the truck. When Lady and I passed the fire house on the ramble out of town, I had smelled the wonderful odors of cooking fillings for burritos and tacos. It brought the usual comfort.

Belly dragging low, Lady slunk away and hied a gray squirrel across the street as we passed the last remaining bur oak on the corner a block north of home.

Back home, she leaped up and the steps and flushed half a dozen mourning doves from picking grain below the feeders on the front porch.

Might actually mow the lawn for the first time today.

That kind of day.

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