March 21st, the Spring Equinox and a week of record-breaking weather. I wore shorts and a t-shirt all day, getting ready for the gardens to bloom because everything is popping up, ready or not!
Last evening we watched American Woodcocks (Scolopax minor)do their thing. The first time I’d seen it and I’m suitably blown away. How these fine little birds evolved this complex mating ritual is beyond imaging: in the growing dusk the male first makes a series of elaborate movements on the ground, turning in all directions while calling a nasal “peent” and then flies up a couple hundred feed in the air before fluttering back down to the same spot from which he began. Meanwhile the females are calling from the nearby woods.
Checking in this morning at Berlin Pond the ice is only about half out but going fast. A fine group of early water birds were on the Pond and the early plants are exploding—literally the pollen from willows and alders was already thick enough to cover the water.