I shut out all conversations around me and consider the idea that nothing is separate, and that the Earth, stars, trees, animals…everything…might be a sacred expression of God. Is everything Holy?
D’Arcy, Paula. Essay. In The Gift of the Red Bird: a Spiritual Encounter: with a Guide for Reflection,New York: Crossroad Pub., 2007. 24
These are the passages I read that further my reflections on the beauty and nourishing energy I receive from Nature and being immersed in it.
These past few weeks have been challenging as they are leading closer to the anniversary of my son’s departure to Heaven. It is within solemn moments walking alone in the wilderness that my greatest motivation to keep on wash over me.
Here are some photos of scenes from the past few weeks.
The day before I saw the majestic Anhinga on the campus of Saint Andrews College at the lake there I did a whiny post about how my hometown of Laurinburg did not offer much in the way of birds because of its limited topography and monoculture.
I know my son sent me this bird.
My Angel son was an artist and loved drawing in black and grey and white. Such a bird would have been a welcome render for him. The day before this was hard for me. And the bird made a strange sound when it landed as though it needed me to know it was there.
I choose to believe this was a Sign from Heaven. And it was a comfort.
I have been in North Carolina since June 3 because I needed to do research at a repository here for my dissertation. Of course, when I made the trip I stopped at a few refuges and nature preserves along the way:
And of course Lincoln is FILLED with hotspots because it has dedicated nature preserves specifically for wildlife. On top of nature preserves, Lancaster County as well as other counties in Nebraska have city parks and state parks for birding and other wildlife viewing.
So I guess you can say I have been spoiled!
Okay, now my home state of North Carolina has a much milder climate than Nebraska. So of course one finds many bird species here that are year-round. But that does not mean you will see them out in your yard. Or even at a city park. Do you know why?
Land use and conservation planning. DISCLAIMER: I am not an expert on these issues but this is something I have been thinking about since having much slimmer birding checklists here in North Carolina, than I do in Nebraska.
My hometown county, Scotland is not exactly a center of economic activity. So this means that county expenditures are not going to be prioritizing conservation areas (though I wish that was a priority). So that means that since my neighborhood does not contain a lake of some kind, or an extensive array of shrubs and trees as well as certain kinds of other native plants well that means we will not see a major diversity of birds.
In my mother’s yard you are guaranteed to see #BrownThrasher #AmericanRobin #NorthernMockingbird #CommonGrackle #NorthernCardinal and #HouseFinch. You will hear #FishCrows and you will see swallows flying high. You may even see a Mississippi Kite flying high (saw one the other day) but that is it.
But in Lincoln? Because of the extensive array of hotspots in the town? I Saw FAR MORE BIRDS. I have yet to see a warbler in my hometown in N.C.
So what this means is that if I want to see more birds I have to go on a trip. Likely to a state park or to a National Wildlife Refuge. But within the city limits? Not going to be so lucky unless a rarity decides to make a pit stop.
THANKFULLY I found a state park today that has birds (Praise GOD). I was about to go crazy!
But for now I will still do my duty of planting more native plants in my mom’s yard, and keeping her birdfeeders full. I will also fill the birdfeeders at my paternal grandmother’s lot (which I have a plan to turn into a birdfeeder stop for the feathered friends).
Clergeau, Philippe, Jean-Pierre L. Savard, Gwenalle Mennechez, and Gilles Falardeau. “Bird Abundance and Diversity along an Urban-Rural Gradient: A Comparative Study between Two Cities on Different Continents.”The Condor 100, no. 3 (1998): 413-25. Accessed June 24, 2021. doi:10.2307/1369707.
On June 1, 2021 I began my roadtrip from Lincoln, Nebraska to my hometown of Laurinburg, N.C to spend the summer with my parents and do some research at the N.C. Archives.
I stayed over in Paducah, KY and then over in Knoxville, TN. It rained the WHOLE WAY, (hence the quote).
But it was a good ride. As with all things I reflected on my son’s spirit, which I know is always near. I cried, I laughed, I spoke to loved ones over the phone as I drove and noticed all the winged messengers in the sky.
Following is a photo-essay of some of my bird friends along the ride…
“Why do birds sing in the morning? It’s the triumphant shout: ‘We got through another night!”
“The Hawk is a bird of the heavens, arranging the changes necessary to prompt our spiritual growth and our awareness.” Lynn Ragan
“The Hawk gives us the ability to see meaning in ordinary experiences… When a loved one delivers this remarkable bird upon our path, they say, “I’m here. I love you. Please know that your enlightenment is imminent. Take me with you.”- Lyn Ragan
“Grief winds us through unknown territory where we navigate our way through an emotional depth that we might not be familiar with. Grief changes us, and despite its difficulties and challenges it can also herald a tide of increased awareness, spiritual renewal, and the opportunity to open ourselves to the vastness of love BEYOND form.”- Sherrie Dillard
Hello everyone! Last time I posted it was on World Migratory Bird Day which turned out to be VERY, VERY windy. But I made it out to Marsh Wren Community Wetlands and Wagon Train State Recreation area.
But this week turned out to be somewhat momentous, I saw the #GreatEgret several times at Holmes Lake this past week:
I also drove up to Omaha to test drive a new birdmobile. The 2015 Volkswagen Golf! Of course when I took a test drive I drove over to Ziwursky Park. Saw a Great Blue Heron there!
Oh I before I forget, I saw a fox at Lincoln Saline Wetlands!
But yesterday well I had a false positive in regard to the Whippoorwill. It was overcast and rainy all day and I did not have on my glasses and I saw perched behind an American Robin, a spotted reserved looking bird with an upturned beak. Was it a Whippoorwill? It blended in so well with the trees!
“Who are you?,” I wondered.
Turns out when I ran it through Merlin app it was a JUVENILE ROBIN, I laughed and laughed because before I got home and was still out at Holmes Lake I posted this tweet:
The adult American Robin was on the branch in front of the Juvenile and it was because I was looking at the Adult that I noticed the interesting looking Juvenile.
Oh well, it was a fun day nonetheless.
I am eternally grateful for God’s Divine Creation and the moments it provide in warmth, serenity, and connecting with my Angel Son’s spirit.
Conestoga Lake State Recreation Area (Army Corp of Engineers Entrance)
I arrived at around 11:00am. There were a few anglers out fishing on the lake. I tend to avoid people for pandemic reasons, but also for personal reasons. I am kind and say hello but I generally keep it moving.
Birding for me is an escape, a time to admire Divine Creation, a time to be with God and push my Angel son’s Spirit forward.
So I entered the area where a brush pile is surrounded by forest. It is here that I often see many #AmericanRobins #RedWingedBlackbirds #CommonGrackles out in about. They are the more conspicuous.
But on this day I saw what appeared to be #BrownThrashers being very skulky. That chestnut brown color is unmistakable. The last time I saw #BrownThrashers were in North Carolina at my parent’s house in March. They weren’t so skulky there.
So I was delighted that the Brown Thrasher had returned to the Midwest. I dropped some birdseed down to encourage curiosity and walked another mile through the area along the lake.
When I returned I saw the Brown Thrashers again but they quickly flew back into the forest. Hmmm. This would take some coaxing. So I remained very still and sat down on the ground and began observing all the sounds of birdsong.
I said a prayer. I said “God, where did the Brown Thrashers go?” Then I whispered to my son’s spirit, “Ricky, where is the Brown Thrasher?” I paused.
I got up and walked closer to the forest edge. I began whistling like a chickadee. I then heard more birdsong.
Were they coming? Were the Brown Thrashers coming?”
And then at that moment I saw the #WarblingVireo. It remained long enough for me to catch several pictures. Then out came the #YellowWarbler who also allowed me to photograph. And then a group of Lady Red Winged Blackbirds came.
Wow I thought to myself.
I would find out from a senior ebirder that the Yellow Warbler sighting was the first for Lancaster County, Nebraska. I felt very grateful!
“Adopt the pace of Nature. Her secret is patience.”