During a morning walk about a week ago I heard the muffled honking of a flock of Canada Geese. I stopped, turned south, looked up, and waited. The honking then grew quite loud. Soon they came into view, a magnificent V formation of about 70 birds! It was a delight to watch them move steadily north, and hear the raucous calls.
Bing free to share and use – Jitze Couperus, Flickr
Why fly in a V? Likely for two reasons: 1) flying slightly above the bird in front lessens the wind resistance, saving energy, and 2) for better coordination and communication.
Other nature happenings in the area:
Even though they’re here year-round, I rarely see Wood Ducks. In early May, this male was spotted in the woods nearby. The female was there also but was slightly hidden. It is strange to see a duck in a tree! Here is more information about them, from this link: “The Wood Duck nests in trees near water, sometimes directly over water, but other times over a mile away. After hatching, the ducklings jump down from the nest tree and make their way to water. The mother calls them to her, but does not help them in any way. The ducklings may jump from heights of over 50 feet without injury.”
Prairie Smoke is a prairie wildflower that blooms in early spring. The pink/red flower hangs down early on but once pollinated rights itself and opens. After flowering, the fruit/seed is on a 2-inch long plume; i.e. smoke fluttering in the wind. I think it’s quite stunning.
Garden plants retain the remains of a morning rainfall:
This eastern gray squirrel was munching on marrow from a discarded bone. Whose bone? How did it get there?
The flowering crabapple was impressive this year with bright shades of pink:
A nature surprise while walking to an appointment:
Artist: MIKE LROY, Madison, WI
Dame’s rocket is in bloom now in Madison, Wisconsin. They look alike, but it is NOT garden phlox. Dame’s rocket is actually invasive, so don’t plant wildflower mixes that contain it. It has four flower petals, while garden phlox has five. This thriving patch of Dame’s rocket is across the street from Warner Beach:
I’m reading this book – How to Catch a Mole: And Find Yourself in Nature. The author writes about the How part, and interspersed with it are his tales of roaming the UK countryside as a homeless teenager, observations about nature, gardening, rock walls, and people, and conclusions he has reached as an old man. It’s good. Today I read these words that follow. I’m still thinking about them, and if I could ever say the same. It’s not easy to turn off my questioning mind and just allow questions to hang.
“I prefer unanswered questions. At the end of the answers there is usually a person who enjoys the power of appearing to know. I have come to like things that are left unfinished. It’s the question that shines the light, that seeks. The answer’s often just a dim reflection of the vastness of the question. There are no answers that satisfy.”