Date: 3/9/18 2:38 pm
From: Joseph C. Neal <joeneal...>
No rare birds to report here, but a rare peaceful walk at Lake Fayetteville Park, from parking near botanical garden to Mulhollan Blind and back.

First birds: Tree Swallows (3) lining up for berths in one of the nest boxes tended by Rick Jones. Midst the WOO WOO WAAAAA of incessant sirens on Crossover Road. And south wind, wild and sunny, with PETE PETE PETE background of Tufted Titmice, American Robins chuckling, then sudden changing into that Summer Tanager-like song, and DRRRRRs of Red-bellied Woodpeckers.

On the way to the blind, I spend about 2 minutes watching Mary Bess Mulhollan’s feeders just inside botanical garden. Lots of visitors: Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Chickadee, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Cardinal, White-throated Sparrows, Downy Woodpecker.

Coming from a busy highway, crossing a field with Tree Swallows, stopped for a quiet while by an array of wild birds, I am reminded such walks are really journeys to the hearts of our built up natural environments. For a moment I am watching the glorious head attire of a singing Northern Cardinal. I connect and therefore I am. Not wild, really, but significant in emotional value, like a cool drink on a hot thirsty day.

My walking has carried me to Mulhollan Blind, an elegant oasis devoted to birds. Out on the lake, a single female Bufflehead. Today’s strong south wind and a date in March means most wild ducks are carried north toward destinies. Overhead, four Turkey Vultures, then a Cooper’s Hawk. CAW CAWs of American Crows and ER ERs of Fish Crows. Outside, a single Yellow-rumped Warbler and a distant Red-shouldered Hawk.

Mulhollan Blind: what a lovely place to stop and contemplate the meaning of waves. The value of sitting and looking out over water, what we are mostly, plus a dab of other stuff, what we choose to nurture. The busy traffic of waves. The flow of things as a matter of time. The sound of waves as antidote to the untamed urban world around.

On the way back, Field Sparrows singing along the wood’s edge. A huge American Hazelnut shrub is covered with male tassels. The tiny female flowers just glow with brilliance in the bright sunlight. High overhead: a Red-tailed Hawk, brilliant light through its tail feathers.

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