Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Warblers Are Here

                                          Not a warbler, but a large Canada Goose that wasn't pleased with us.

"Hey lady, this is my park, bugger off will ya?"

Danny tells me that if the geese are honking and flapping their wings they have a nest nearby and would like you to get lost. We hurried away not wishing to tangle with a pair of large geese.

With so much awfulness in our local news of late, I wanted to get out and remind myself that Nebraska is generally a lovely place, with kind people. The horror of the past week starting with a baby in a dumpster (he lived) and his five year old brother in the river (he didn't) and their mother murdered by the eldest son (now arrested) would have been more than enough horrible news until the prison riots in Lincoln, and Tecumseh started breaking out. Now there's dead inmates, many injured, and very little information about what's going on over there. The lack of comment from officials does make everyone suspicious that things are much worse than they are admitting. It could be another Attica for all anyone knows because there seems to be some sort of official silence on the matter from the media as well. I needed a walk, away from the Internet, newspaper, and the radio.
This is Towle park in Omaha. It runs along a creek, and has a small pond that attracts a number of birds. Tucked away behind a busy intersection, it is another one of our parks you'd never know was there. The summer birds have been arriving along with migrating warblers passing through on their way north. It was a beautiful day, so we set out looking for warblers. We didn't find any, but we did manage to spot several other birds including some Vireo Danny had been wanting to see. I got a nice walk in a beautiful park, so all in all it was a great afternoon.
This is a Cowbird. I don't know the origin of the name, but I can assure you they don't, "Moo." Their song is rather sweet, for a bird with such a terrible reputation. They have been known to sneak their eggs into other bird's nests (and sometimes even eat the other bird's eggs). So they're disliked, but I always feel sorry for them, like Brown Thrashers and Starlings-some birds just get a bad rap. They can't help how the food chain sorted itself out.
You could almost forget you're right next to the busy intersection at 90th and Center. It is so quiet and lovely here.
We stood beneath this tree for a good long while listening to the Vireo call, but it was shy and we couldn't coax it out for a photo. I caught a quick glimpse of a small-ish pale bird, but that was it. There must have been a million midges under this tree, and I think I breathed in at least a few thousand. No mosquitoes (yet) though, which is good.

I couldn't put it off any longer, so the tomatoes, peppers, and aubergine are finally planted. The back of the house is slowly turning into a rookery, though it isn't rooks but instead Grackles. They've taken over the trees, and our patio with all the plants and feeders is a comfortable spot for them to sit and do whatever it is they do. I came home to find a pair sitting in my geranium, which was cute as it is in a swan shaped planter. In what was sheer luck, I happened by the thrift store immediately after someone donated a two-tier wooden potting stand. It took some creative angling to get it in my car, but for $8.00 I wasn't leaving it. It now holds flowers out back where I'm trying to attract hummingbirds. So far, all I have are robins, finches and grackles. And the woodpecker we call, "Mr 4 AM" because that's when he starts hammering away. I hope that kid of mine remembers this someday when he's an ornithologist because I am sooooo not a bird person. I'm trying, really I am.
This thing is heavy, which is good because we get insane winds in Nebraska. Right now it is blowing a gale out there.
 Slowly, we're getting some colour. Today, we bought a hummingbird feeder, just in case they're not attracted by the flowers. I have another rounded tiered plant stand for the front garden that can hold pots of herbs. Slowly, I'm taking the garden vertical.

Isn't this just the prettiest salvia you've ever seen? Perhaps I'm just biased, but I sure think it is.
 With the hummingbird feeder, that makes five. The neighbour to our left is also hanging feeders, and the people at the end have a rather elaborate setup for various birds-so this is the Burt Street Bird Resort. They just go from house to house, then back to the tree to enjoy the surroundings. I think the people directly across the street have feeders out as well.

I haven't done anything with the ground floor patio in back, and I should. The season is just getting started, so perhaps I'll invest in some shade plants. Maybe a proper patio set, and tiki lights. We'll see. If I make it *too* nice, I might never leave the house.

Outfit Particulars
Home-sewn skirt (not by me) Goodwill
White linen blouse-K Mart
Enamel flower brooch-Goodwill
70's handbag-Thrift store in the mall, Jenerations
Earrings-K Mart
Beaded/leather belt (60's) Hand-Me-Ups
Bakelite bangles-all over
Fragrance-Yardley Lily of the Valley

This evening, we went out again to look for Night Hawks that circle around the streetlamps as they first come on. None tonight, but we were excited to see several Chimney Swifts getting ready to bed down for the evening, presumably in chimneys.
I nearly forgot about this skirt-bought years ago on a clearance rack at K Mart. I've been rediscovering my transitional wardrobe as this is the first year in a while that we've had a proper spring (we typically go from freezing to sweltering).

We're due for torrential rain (again) over the next few days, so that's it for planting until the start of next week (at least). I'm sitting here watching the automatic lawn sprinklers spraying in the 50 mph wind at the college next door. I suppose there's no override for rainy days, but it does seem terribly wasteful. We take our water for granted in the Midwest, but knowing what California is going through, it is almost painful to watch that water blowing away without even hitting the lawn. I guess the street will be quite clean now.

Ahh, mid-week. Almost Friday!


Beth Waltz said...

Yardley's Lily of the Valley is a fragrance I'd forgotten: what an appropriate transitional fragrance for wearing with florals and spring greens! I've been cossetting a patch of these dainty flowers over several moves and many decades. They love damp corners next to concrete -- perhaps they'd flourish at your back patio.

Park walks and bird-watching are excellent antidotes to too much news. However, caution is highly recommended near Canada geese! There's a hilarious video on YouTube of a gigantic silver back gorilla tromping down his urban zoo backyard to investigate geese at his pond, and then fleeing back up the hill, flailing his arms, as the gander goes for him.

Goody said...

@Beth Waltz

Maybe that's what's wrong with my lily of the valley-I have it in a pot at the front of the house where it gets too much sun. I have it in a terracotta pot
so perhaps moving it to the back would be a better fit. It isn't dead, but it isn't growing either. Thank you, I'm going to move it first thing in the morning.

Bibi said...

I've switched from watching my news on TV (CNN Asia, BBC World& Al Jazeera Asia Pacific) to listening to BBC radio podcast. I'm tired of seeing the same video of earthquake damage in Nepal's hardest hit districts OVER & OVER & OVER again. Rebuilding damaged buildings is only one part of the problem, rebuilding tourism (Nepal's biggest source of revenue) is going to be an even bigger problem.
A USMC Huey helicopter went missing on Tuesday over the very remote river canyon region of Tama Koshi while delivering relief supplies. Six US Marines were aboard with 2 Nepali servicemen. Not a trace has been seen nor heard - no plume of smoke, no radio communication from the downed craft - NOTHING. Search & rescue sorties flew all day yesterday over the region looking for the Huey with no sightings, now they've sent 300 Nepali soldiers on foot to search & scale the deep canyon.
I love good old British Yardley from their singular, linear soliflores to their complex fougeres & orientals. Always affordable quality, tastefully done, & elegant. We can still get Yardley's English Blazer, Poise, Equity, 442, Legacy, Bond St, & numerous flankers thereof in India. The standard linear scents are availbale too (April Violets, English Rose, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley, Iris, Peony etc) Even when FREQUENTLY OVERAPPLIED by the 4 teenaged Romeos in my household all the Yardley men's colognes still manage to be tasteful, or at least inoffensive.

Mim said...

Golly, we hadn't heard about the prison riots over here, they sound dreadful. And those poor children too - sometimes the news is just horrible.

I don't suppose it's possible to pipe the rain to California, is it? Probably too great a distance. I do feel very sorry for them, that's one bit of US news that we *have* seen.

Janice said...

I hope you don't mind me sharing this link in your comments rather than an email. Interesting reading in general but I thought you might want to read up on the nasty hummingbird food. Many wildlife and birds articles of interest. It's a regular read of mine. Your flowers are lovely and sounds like quite the garden you have going.

Goody said...


Thanks for that link. Yeah, commercial hummingbird food is crap-sugar water will do the trick nicely. What really frightens me is people who feed honey in their feeders. It causes some sort of awful tongue fungus and then the birds can't eat at all. I'll show that site to Danny in the morning, I have a feeling he'll like it. Thank you!

I know they have to show the worst stuff on telly (otherwise no one would watch) but it can get to be a bit much. I remember during the San Francisco earthquake in the 80's, I had a friend living there whose neighbourhood was completely untouched by it, and he was watching all the fires and chaos on TV like everyone else.

I just don't know what they're going to do out West unless the rains return. A few more years of this and it will be unlivable. And still, companies are taking the water, bottling it, and selling it! Madness.