Bird Observer - The New England Birding Journal

Bird Observer

The Birding Journal for New England

October 2016

Vol. 44, No. 5

Musings from the Blind Birder: A Short but Sweet Season

Martha Steele

Prairie Warbler singing. Photograph by Sandy Selesky.

By mid-July this past summer, we started harvesting peas, lettuce, Swiss chard, beet greens, and our first early potatoes from our northeastern Vermont garden. As I picked peas, I found myself thinking that we had just planted everything only a short time ago. In late May, I was on my knees, digging a small, one-inch deep trench into which I carefully placed one tiny pea seed at a time, about an inch or so apart along the length of 15 yards or so. Merely six or seven weeks later, here I was, picking full pods of sweet, delicious peas from three-foot high vines. Likewise, I had planted potato tubers, which resulted in lush green vegetation and multiple potatoes from each tuber in the same short period of time. I was simply astonished at the short time needed between the planting of seeds to the harvesting of fresh vegetables sprawling across the garden.

Similarly, I am always amazed at how quickly the prime birding season goes by for us in the Northeast. After sometimes harsh months of bitter cold or snow, we eagerly look forward to the coming spring and arrival of our migrants. This year, Bob, Alvin, and I started looking in late February for our first American Woodcock to arrive, so hopeful were we that we would hear our first returning migrants while still in the grips of a mostly silent winter. Soon after in March we began to hear such birds as Red-winged Blackbirds, but we must always contend with the unpredictable New England weather. So although we know what is to come, even in early spring it seems like the coming of the spring migration is still a distant speck in time.

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