Love was in the air during my weekly Friday birding expedition. I followed a pair of Carolina Chickadees for a while; the female fluttered her wings as the male fed her treats gleaned from the surrounding branches. Not far from them, a pair of Northern Cardinals were engaged in the same courtship ritual. And all around, male birds were singing their hearts out, proclaiming “Mine, mine” on their individual territories. Eastern Towhees were particularly present and loud that morning. A Veery sang down by the water in the same spot where I found one a few weeks earlier. I love the Veery’s song! Wood Thrush, too. We are lucky to have some in the woods behind our house this summer. Overhead, crows harassed a juvenile hawk (Sharp-shinned or Cooper’s, I think, without good enough looks to confirm either way), chasing it from tree to tree for quite some time. Several deer crossed the road about 50 feet ahead, completely oblivious to my presence. Tiny Eastern American Toads hopped here and there all over the trails. I heard more birds than I saw. It’s getting harder to find the birds now, but I try to think of it as more of a challenge and work on my ear birding.
Last night, when I returned from a walk Em said the birds were raising a ruckus outside and she thought there might be an owl around. When we went out a few minutes later to run an errand, sure enough we saw a Barred Owl up in a tree behind the parking lot! It stared us down with its spooky black eyes for a few seconds before flying off. Owls are so awesome!