GREENE CO., MO. — I wanted to get up early and go birding this morning. But gas is at $3 (or more), and I’d be doing well to find a handful of Forster’s Terns and a cormorant even if I did go out.
So I slept in and then got up to continue digging and dividing the overgrown irises. As I worked, I kept my ears open. Pewees called. Red-bellies chuckled occasionally. I heard chickadees, titmice, a robin, a Blue Jay, a Downy Woodpecker, and a Mourning Dove’s wings as it slid overhead. Looking up occasionally, I saw Chimney Swifts but no frigatebirds. Katrina’s pelagics did not make it here.
Hummingbirds shrieked and tittered in the background. The feeders have recently been taken over by two strong-willed female hummers who sit close and chase away all comers. The bird who has taken over the largest feeder habitually perches on a particular petiole on the Passiflora lutea that is currently trying to pull down the back porch. I’m sure the two tiny tyrants will move on in a few days, but in the meantime, the sugar budget can recover just a bit.
In the afternoon, dark clouds rolled in, and the weather map showed a bright red spot just to the west. I went back outside to get all my tools into the garage and to drag dozens and dozens of iris rhizomes up onto the back porch. Then I sat on the hood of the car to wait for a storm.
Chimney Swifts seemed to be the only things that moved. The clouds were still, and I could not feel the faintest breath of wind on my skin. Thunder rumbled in the south, far away, and the air was heavy. Leaves on two small trees trembled slightly. Air conditioning units droned, and crickets kept up a soft chorus.
A nighthawk flew over, no nonsense. Mourning Doves. Two goldfinches. Then a whole flock of — robins? No, kingbirds, flying high, flying south.
More thunder, a little lightning. Tiny drops. Wind. Wind from the east. A pause. Wind from the west.
But no catharsis. No rain.