a flower for your friday

~ a flower for your friday ~

Maybe a cold, snowy February slowed up spring. I returned yesterday to a path I don’t often visit, and though it was already a few days into March, I found no evidence there will be flowers in that area any time soon. So Friday’s flower this week is from last year at this time.

There was plenty of sunshine yesterday (yah!), and no one on the path but me and a few birds (yah!). It felt like pre-covid! I saw a robin, a woodpecker, a couple of towhees, and a cardinal pair singing to each other and playing some version of cardinal tag. They seemed oblivious to me. The songs weren’t long or complicated, but sweet sounding nonetheless. One or the other cardinal, perched on a low branch, would sing a few notes, and then they’d fly off together, to another tree, to another branch. Over and over.

Enjoy your weekend.


Sitting at my desk this morning, trying to come up with a title for these pictures, I detected movement outside the window, up in the trees. Some sort of impressive bird. It was large, though not as big as the bigger hawks. The bird was mostly black, but as it flew higher I could see white underneath the wings. Such a beautiful wing span. It landed on a tree in my neighbor’s yard, and I thought it was some kind of woodpecker. My eyes drifted to the left, and halfway up a tree in my backyard was another bird, this one close enough for me to identify as a pileated woodpecker. This is only the fourth time I’ve seen pileated woodpeckers, and they never, ever fail to impress me … immensely. A great reminder, first thing in the morning, however weighty the problems of the world seem, there’s still so much that’s wonderful.

the catbirds

It was a busy bird morning. Two catbirds (not the ones pictured) were engaged in some sort of territorial battle, and they apparently knew the rules of engagement well.

Catbirds are noisy if you have them around, and I’m used to hearing their calls. It can be like a strange white noise. You tune it out. So the first thing I noticed was two birds circling the property over and over. Once I started paying attention, I realized there was a protocol. It started with a squawking session…two gray birds perched on branches not far from each other. Then one took off after the other, and the chasing began. Over the house to the front yard, then back again to circle around to an area just past my backyard. Some dodging and looping back there, and then back again to the front. And back again. They didn’t dive bomb or physically attack each other the way robins do, but they were persistent.

The catbirds flew under the canopy, and I wondered if they might fly into a tree trunk. With all the branches and leaves, it took some quick reflexes and agile maneuvering to avoid obstacles. A little like Top Gun.

After a few minutes, I guess they got tired, and stopped to rest. Like, “Timeout!” Again, they perched on separate branches, and started up the the dueling cat calls. A stand-off? Oh no. After a minute of squawking, they took off and it started over again. They did this over and over.

Eventually it just ended. The birds seemed okay, and neither seemed to sustain injuries. I’ve seen the robins battle, and I don’t think they quit until somebody’s feathers are ruffled.

photograph from 2014


thanks for visiting clover & ivy

burning bush

photographed 11/27/19

At nesting time, the burning bush is full of activity.
Nearly every year, cat birds nest there.
The gray birds have some of the nastiest cat calls,
and the longest and prettiest songs, you’ll hear.
Humming birds dive bomb battle outside the shrub, staking their claim
for the right to perch on a branch there. And all the birds use it
as the official feather fluffing spot after a bath. When it comes to fluffing off,
there seems to be a widely accepted practical agreement about the need to share.

But soon,
soon the branches will be bare, and a berth for the hardy ones,
the ones that hunker down and winter over. Cardinals, blue jays, sparrows.
They’ll hang out there on the leafless branches and shiver their way
through the biting cold, and the wind, and the snow, this winter.

And so goes the burning bush.

c & i