Spring is the home-coming season for many birds. A few days ago I saw a pair of blue herons flying over the large pond, possibly on a house-hunting tour. This morning I saw one standing on a tall tree in the central island. The big bird opened the beak as if to say "good morning" to me, and then did several postings for me to take portrait shots.
A northern flicker couple are apparently hatching eggs in their lovely home overlooking the pond and the central island. The expecting mom looked tired and was waiting for her husband to take the next shift. Lo and behold, he came home and after a soft and sweet whisper, took over the job.
New flowers and leaves are now everywhere, bringing delight to both people and animals. The picture of orchid flowers were taken at home. They are new members added to my family. I have been watching the buds for almost 5 months. The waiting finally paid off.
Last Saturday while I was walking in the park, a pair of wood ducks flew from the pond across the trail into the woods. They dated on trees and did not mind my presence and picture-taking, as if being hired by me as models. Instead of making sounds of high pitch and pace, they talked to each other very softly. The motions of the male approaching the female and of both responding to each other reminded me of the good old days when I was chasing my girlfriend (now my wife, of course).
I have never been allowed by wood ducks to get so close to them. I changed my position several times and worked for almost 30 minutes. Believe or not, even when I felt it was time to wrap up, the couple still wanted to go on. Now I need to figure out whether they use email or other media tools to allow me to send the images to them.
During a brief walk in Brightwood park this morning, I had encounters with a few interesting objects and would like to share them with you.
Watching the plants and the flowers made me feel like being in a concert. The program included but not limited to quartets, solos, and choir performances.
A log of a fallen tree, located on the Prospect Street side of the trail, across from the picnic area, appeared like a giant snake waking up in the spring concert.
On nearby trees, two blue jays performed singing and dancing. A mourning dove made a silent special pose. I wonder if this was inspired by the bald eagle sign of the US Postal Service.
On my way back home, I was attracted by the beautiful magnolia and forsythia flowers. The last two pictures were taken from my yard, outlooking those of my neighbors along Brightwood Ave. To me the stars-and-stripes is one of the most beautiful among all national symbols.
On Sunday in the first week of April, I visited both Brightwood and Mindowaskin Parks, in the morning and before sunset. As I was watching the flowers and greeting the birds, one classical music piece and one modern (sort of) pop song came to my mind. The classical one was the Pastoral Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven. From one day to the next, the change of weather patterns was like the rolling of the movements in the symphony. The pop song was "Beautiful Sunday" by Daniel Boone, which I learned as a college freshman. Now after 50 years, I am blessed with a "her" to say "Beautiful Sunday" to each other every Sunday. Also it is a blessing to live in Westfield and sing the song to friends, plants, flowers, and many lovely creatures.
At Brightwood Park, a northern flicker got out of the tree house after hearing my whistle. Likely we developed some kind of common language by now. On the side a blue jay sent a greeting by fluffing the hair. The geese and ducks were like professional dancers, performing on a stage with beautiful background scenery and special light effects.
I was happy to meet a new friend at Brightwood Park a few weeks ago. She told me about some wood ducks in the trees near the ponds. Since then, I have been looking around in the woods and hoping to have the same luck. That moment came this morning when I was approaching the dam. A pair of wood ducks took off from the water and performed an incredible show in front of me. The two first landed on separate trees. The male let me take multiple portrait shots. Then he called the female to join him. After being together they seemed to have a lot to tell each other (gossiping about me?). They also posed in various ways to let me record the happy moments.
Upon the conclusion of the show, an old tree who refused to be regarded as "dead wood" clapped his hands and then covered his laughing mouth with a hand to avoid being carried away.
The first picture was taken when I walked past the meadow area. There appeared to be a cat staring at me. As I got closer, it turned out to be the root tip of a fallen tree. Afterwards I wondered which doctor I need to go to, an optometrist or a psychiatrist?
I went to Brightwood Park after waking up one morning. The sun was like a spotlight on a performance stage, revealing the beautiful background and the characters. Although it was the beginning of the day, the joy of spring made me feel drunk and start daydreaming in this wonderland.
Yesterday I saw two birds fighting for a tree hole. It was between a male northern flicker and a female red-bellied woodpecker. Today when I walked by and whistled, a female northern flicker rushed back and held tightly to the entrance of the tree hole. My guess is that a couple already checked in this apartment and there may even be eggs inside.
Speaking of whistling, I learned last year that this could be a way to communicate with northern flickers. Near the Prospect Street entrance of the park, there was a family of northern flickers living in a tree hole. Everytime I walked by, the birds would respond to my whistling. Sometimes one head stuck out, sometimes two, and there was one time I saw three, with a curious baby bird joining the daddy and the mommy to say hi.
A robin stood on the grass, looking very fulfilled. I could not imagine how many earthworms were caught by the bird. Somehow I was reminded of a recent experience of an international flight I took. I chose a window seat to take pictures. My next-seat passenger was like this bird, happy and firendly. For a good 11 hours on the flight, I felt warm and secure even though the cabin temperature was lower then usual. However at arrival I was like a piece of pickled cucumber at the bottom of the jar.
As spring unfolds, I have been greeted by plants and flowers, as well as by birds and turtles. Turtles have started to come to the surface in the pond. On a recent visit, when a red-winged blackbird on the ground screamed out loud as if sending a signal. a blue jay responded by performing a scrambling, rocket-like launch.
I also would like to share with you the photos taken in late March. At sunset hour, while I walked along the shore of the large pond, a pattern formed by branches in the water caught my attention. Perhaps having to do with my professional background, I stared at the pattern for a while to figure our what kind of chemical compound was presented by such an interesting structural formula: a 6-member ring flanked by a 5-member ring branched out with a long side-chain, and further, complexed with another ring rectangularly crossing-over. I even tried to figure out if the pattern could be an inspiration for drug discovery. Well, another crazy moment of my inspired imagination!
A goose was making a passionate speech with a gesture of wings fully extended to impress the audience. Two geese sneaked away to pursue other interests, likely doing house hunting in a scenic area.
While the setting sun was spraying its residual light on the water, a log serving as a mark in the pond for almost 3 years was dozing off and having an early wrapup of the day.
Recently, a flock of wood ducks came to Brightwood Park. I took a count and found there to be four couples. I wondered if because of reaching a critical mass, the ducks were much bolder than the ones I saw in the past few years. They no longer kept a distance from me, they even stepped on shore to join geese and mallard ducks to enjoy eating grains left by visitors. One of the male wood ducks ignored the presence of creatures bigger by one or more sizes, and stood by spreading his legs to claim his sovereignty on the new territory. The geese and the mallard ducks appeared to be generous, and left the colorful dude alone to play Captain Preppie (in the legendary Crock comic strips by Bill Rechin).
While the pairs of the wood ducks swam in the pond, they sometimes passed by areas with red maple flowers floating. The scene reminded me of wedding couples walking on the carpet showered with rose petals. The ducks looked triumphant and proud, and even reciting serenade while parading.
I think I am becoming obsessed with wood ducks. Do you agree?
One picture was taken downstream of the dam. The foam of the water formed a pattern too pretty to be neglected.
I am a frequent visitor of Brightwood Park and enjoy sharing my discoveries.
Brightwood Park is on the North end of Prospect Street. Go past Franklin School and look for the entrance on the left.