27 October 2009

A Perfect Autumn Afternoon at a Wrens' Ravine

Monday afternoon came about without delay and it became obvious without a doubt that it was a fine time to be out amongst the woods, looking and the birds and otherwise appreciating natural conditions. After days of drab gray skies, wind gusts seemingly without end, ongoing drizzle or rain, the conditions were perfectly sublime for a change

The spot of choice for the day was along midtown's Wood Creek. These woods are a regular haunt for birds and other critters of smaller or larger size. There was no disappointment for the many minutes, stretching into hours, slowly spent watching birds and simply enjoying the coloration of the foliage, the animal antics and simply, the whole scene.

Conveying their active conditions, the so special feathered mites - the so small Winter Wrens - could be readily heard, and nearly as soon were seen bouncing here, to there and other where in search of a tasty bit. Their subtle call was the obvious indicator for where they were, for some visiting observer.

Coloration of the leaves was at its autumnal peak. The creek was adorned with fallen foliage, dramatically presented in the bright sun of the afternoon, highlighting the variety of color of arboreal relics from different trees along the languid creek through the middle of the city.

The Winter Wrens were the highlight, as they regularly are each wintery season hereabouts at these city park lands. So small, yet so dynamic as they forage in - around - between branches and trunks of fallen trees and other low-level places of their choice, nearly continually announcing their place. First one, then another were readily noted, up close, yet exquisite in such small details of brown, with spots and that indicative tail posture erected to announce their presence.

A period of time spent watching one or the other of these wrens was no waste of effort. Instead it was a joy to catch a glimpse of their life under a sunny sky ... a time that could only be appreciated and enjoyed.

There were other birds around the Elmwood Park Ravine, including, notably, some White-throated Sparrows, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a Hermit Thrush and Brown Creeper, and some other regular residents that for this day, will remain unidentified, though no less appreciated.

During the slow walk along the creek, a boisterous Carolina Wren made certain it was recognized with its clarion call. Its rolling chant could not be missed, and as the scape was scanned, it could be seen flitting along the way. Then a few minutes later, as the outing was ending, there were two of these wrens calling at the south end of the ravine.

It was a fine ending for the time in the woods of the park on October 26th. The temperature was 55o, with only a slight breeze, beneath occasional clouds with dynamic cerulean skies.

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