• Dale Bowman

Red-wing on sandpiper or the Red Baron: Ramble with the Lady

A red-winged blackbird repeatedly dive-bombed a sandpiper as they flew up and down low over the north old clay pit. It was like they were some sort of old-time avian fighter pilots. (Hello, Red Baron or, if you prefer, Manfred von Richthofen.)

I would call it a least sandpiper, but I would not stake my life on it.

That was a first for me seeing a red-wing, which can be an aggressive bird, going after a sandpiper.

Naturally, at least naturally for me, that took me to a song.

Something a little different on an old song with the Irish Rovers doing "Snoopy vs the Red Baron.''

You never know where we will end up rambling off to and end up at. (Preposition ender alert.)

As Lady, our family's mutt, and I rambled off this morning, I watched dozens of robins hopping and short-flying all over the town and outside of town.

One of these mornings, I will attempt to do a count. Bet I will end up with more than 100.

A northern flicker bobbed away as Lady and I turned to go out on the extended ramble. Figured better to get an extended ramble in this morning. With the rains coming, the far ends will be a soupy mess for days.

The bonus this morning came when a great blue heron floated, flapping slowly, in from the lake to the west to land in the northwest corner of the north pit. Once again, the sight reminded me of Oriental ink drawings of a stork. Not sure why that image sticks so in my head.

I planned to count the goslings this morning. But no.

There were plenty of adult geese around. Nine were grazing and crapping all over the grassy areas off both pits. Another 10 swam on the north pit and a lone pair on the south pit. But not a single gosling was there. I know at least three pairs of geese have goslings, so I guess they were off somewhere learning to graze and crap all over everything.

Light rain began spitting as we walked the east side of the south pit. It is going to be that kind of weekend. A lone wood duck flew off from the south pit.

Back on the edge of town, a barn pigeon cooed somewhere in the top of the grain elevators. A lone mourning dove sat on a wire above the grit area.

In the overcast and spits of rain, the stark contrast of coming out of the wilds around the town pond and back to civilization was heightened by the metallic look of the grain elevators with a line of cars on a side rail in front. (Hello, Charles Demuth.)

We were early enough that the chef/cook, who runs the food truck for nursery and migrant workers, had just arrived. So there were no comforting odors of fillings for tacos and burritos wafting around.

On the street a block from home, with the decorative fruit trees, a pair of blue jays squawked back and forth. The fruit trees are a pink or fuchsia color, the kind of color a young woman might fancy for a festive occasion. A woodpecker hammered away down the block.

Back home,a gray squirrel crossed the street down the block. (Why it crossed the street I don't know.) Lady sprinted up the front steps, scattering doves, sparrows and finches.

Time to get on with another packed spring Saturday morning.

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