Monday, May 28, 2007

Follow me

The other day I went for a walk in the woods to see birds. Other than being temporarily distracted by a singing scarlet tanager, I didn't actually see very many birds at all. There were a few cuckoos who kept taunting me, the ever present and wonderful ovenbirds, and a gazillion blue gray gnatcatchers whose song became little more than background static once I gave up trying to spot them.
Instead I followed the chipmunk's chatter and he led me to find some special things...
He scampered about under the cinnamon ferns...
and helped me see the Pink Lady's Slippers that I've been searching for everywhere...
When I got over finding those, I noticed that the Mountain Laurel was just about ready to burst into bloom.
Then I met up with a few of these garrish beetles patrolling the sandy paths. None would let me get close enough for a nice pic, despite my dusty knees.
Finally I took a break and sat on a bench beside a swampy pond with the chipmunks still chattering at my back. My binoculars were focused on the yellow bladderworts blooming on the far shore when I noticed these tiny flowers at my feet. I think they may be Canada Mayflowers?

On my way out of the woods, the scarlet tanager was still singing and I watched a few bluebirds hawking insects from the grass. I've not had any luck with photographing birds this spring, and little luck with finding wildflowers when I go out looking for them, but I seem to do better with one when I'm paying attention to the other. Does that make any sense? Maybe this day I can credit my better luck with following the chipmunk's antics.

All photos from Allaire State Park, another local warbler hotspot.

16 comments:

Mary said...

I do understand exactly what you mean. While on a lunch hour walk, I'm looking and listening for birds. Last week, an unfamiliar bird song led me to the most beautiful wild iris...

Your photos are downright awesome. Keep getting those knees dirty and FOLLOW THAT CHIPMUNK!

bunnygirl said...

Great pics, as always. And I just love that chipmunk!

Cathy said...

I love Mary's exhortation to 'follow that Chipmunk!' I guess the siren call of Spring can take many many forms.

Yes, that garish beetle - it's the 6 spotted tiger beetle, right?

You've still got great birds. We're slowing down here. Wish Spring would throw on the brakes now:0) But your lovely photos keep the dream of Spring fresh forever.

Susan Gets Native said...

My path to birding led me to other interesting things today, too.
That's one of the cool things about birding, isn't it? You go out looking for them, and they just happen to live in places where cool things abound.

Liza Lee Miller said...

I always see the best birds when I'm hurrying somewhere with no camera at the ready. Typical, eh?

Gorgeous flowers and that chipper makes up for a lot! :)

Jennifer said...

What a nice walk that seems to have been. The pink lady's slipper is wonderful, isn't it. And yes, you are right about the last flower being Canada Mayflower. They are out all over the place around here, now, too!

Body Soul Spirit said...

Thanks for taking me on a walk with you. I hope to find a Lady's Slipper too.
ruth

dguzman said...

It's funny how, when you're looking for something, you find something else. I feel like this spring has been that way for me, as I've seen flowers, turtles, trees, mosses, and everything else but birds!

KGMom said...

It is great that your chipmunk led you to photo-worthy places. Around where I live, the chipmunks only lead me to where they have "planted" sunflower seeds.

MojoMan said...

Thanks for taking us along, but I wish I was really there because I have yet to see a gnatcatcher and I feel certain I would love that handsome little bird.

It seems like it's a good year for tanagers, which is a relief considering how threatened their winter habitat is.

robin andrea said...

I like picturing you on the ground trying photograph that dazzling green beetle. Had you seen us on Monday, we too were on our knees trying to photograph a particularly beautiful circular spiderweb in the low-growing bushes on a trail by the creek. We either have a bad neck from looking up at the birds or dust on our knees! These are great pics from a lovely day, Laura.

Dorothy said...

Oh Laura...you hit the mother lode...you found a pink Lady's slipper!!!! Every Spring I go searching for them and I never have found one yet!! I've not seen one since I was a little girl, in the woods in Chatham where we lived.
Sometimes it's serendipity..searching for one treasure and finding another. Lovely lovely photos.

NatureWoman said...

Oh, pink lady's slippers - I would love to see one of those again!

TaraDharma said...

i enjoyed following you along on your walk - so many wonderous things! photos are great!

say, doesn't a certain Gemini have a birthday coming up soon? Hmmm....?

Mark said...

WOw, your very own tour guide, I need more of those chipmunks around my neck of the woods.

Dave said...

Wow, just like having spirit guide! :) Yep, canada mayflower, six-spotted tiger beetle. I'm glad you found a pink lady's-slipper.