Spring is moving right along. Oh, there will be setbacks--this is Michigan--but day by day life returns to the countryside.
This morning I heard songbirds even through the closed windows. I can't say what they are--so far I've had little luck birding by ear--but they weren't owls, crows, or cardinals, the only birds I heard all winter. I did hear the raucous call of the redwing blackbird as well. The cowbirds are back, and the finches are beginning to wear their brighter color.
The lake is completely thawed now, and the migrating waterfowl are stopping in for a little R and R. Yesterday Jim counted over 160 various ducks and, of course, the Canada geese. A completely accurate count was impossible, as some of the ducks were divers and tended to disappear or reappear suddenly. I'm fascinated by the ring-necked duck, which sports a white ring on its beak. (We can see them clearly through our cheap telescope.) Jim also identified a bird we hadn't noticed before, the American widgeon.
The temperature rose to over 60 degrees yesterday. We were out on the front porch enjoying a pre-dinner beer in the oh-so-welcome sunlight when suddenly I realized that I was hearing frogs. Jim thought I was hearing some sort of bird calls, but I insisted they were frogs. And so they were. The chorus frogs (scroll down, and be sure to listen to the call) were out yesterday and grew louder as night fell. Such a joyful noise, as I invariably say every year when I hear their ebullient voices. They're the earliest to be heard in Michigan. Their call has been compared to the sound of a fingernail running over the edge of a comb, but I think that's a very flat description, especially when a whole group calls.
It won't be long and the earliest spring flowers will begin to bloom. I need to pay attention to the wooded areas to find these. The violets in my herb garden are showing green leaves now. Speaking of the herb garden, I really need to get out there and clean it up! Probably not today, though, as showers and thunderstorms are expected.
Little by little the earth is greening, the sky grows less empty.