Sunday, May 22, 2011

Angry Birds...in Middle Earth...

…there is one spot along the Little Miami River that is different from the “regular” woodlands along the trail—the lowland flats. The “flats” are thick and lush and mysterious. They sit about 20 or 30 feet below the biking trail about a mile up the path from the Powder Factory. Here the river meanders away from the bike path, forming a green, spongy stretch of land. When you walk the flats, you usually go unobserved by the people up on the trail, but you can see them, and you can hear them too as their voices sink down the slopes and echo around the huge Sycamore trees. The forest is deep and dark here, and the mind can wax fanciful easily, and that's not just me letting my imagination run wild. The last time Rick and I roamed the flats Rick mentioned the forest felt ancient, almost like we could be in a different world. He didn’t come right out and use the term “Middle Earth,” but I don’t think he would have been surprised to have seen a Lord of the Rings-style elf on a horse winding through the trees...

…so what does this have to do with anything? Friday, when the sun came out, I left work early and headed to the Little Miami. When I got to a turn-off path, I hopped off the trail and climbed down to the river where I followed a deer trail to the small creek that led to the flats. After crossing over, I walked only a few minutes before three little chickadees started sounding the alarm…screaming at me and scolding me like I’ve never been screamed at or scolded before! I took a few photos of them in their agitated state hoping they would calm down, but they didn’t. They were working in a triangle, shifting between three trees one after another, seemingly protecting the tree at the apex. That's when I saw a hole in the tree, which probably was a nesting cavity. I fired off a few more photos, but quickly left the scene. "Quiet down," I said, "You'll bring out the elves!" (I was kidding of course, but two deer on the other side of a giant felled tree did look up, which made me laugh...who knows...maybe...). I only walked 15-20 feet away before they calmed down and went about their business, but I didn’t linger and kept walking on, eventually climbing up the hillside and back to reality...

...now that's an Angry Bird!

...looking back at the tree with the nesting cavity in it.

...these Chiggies were relentless. He looks like he's singing, but he's not!! He's calling in the forces...

...look at the top-left corner of the photo. That's the nesting cavity he was protecting.

...intruder, intruder!

...danger...danger!

...get out...get out!

"Don't make me call in an elf. They have arrows..."


p.s. For you lovers of the "Angry Birds" games, there were no egg-snatching pigs around...the birds were just angry at me.

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22 comments:

texwisgirl said...

good little sounders! that last shot is fantastic!!! :)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Tiny little bird which can make tons of noise, huh???? Get outta here, Lady... This is OUR home!!!!! ha ha

Great pictures, Kelly... Sweet little birds even if they did scold you!!!

Hugs,
Betsy

Randy Emmitt said...

Kelly good story, never had this happen to me before. I have seen chickadee babies on limbs calling madly for food from their parents many times. I miss the Miami River I canoed down it a few times in the 70s.

Montanagirl said...

Amazing shots, Kelly! They're so tiny, yet so volatile!

Elaine said...

Fun story, Kelly! Having the chickadees shouting at you must have really made you feel as if you were in another world.

ShySongbird said...

A most entertaining account Kelly and illustrated so well by your lovely photos!

I also enjoyed the photos of the Cardinal on the previous post and your beautiful painting of the Northern Parula on the post before that.

Margaret said...

Fantastic photo and words. Really enjoyed his. The cardinal post is humorous and your latest paintings are lovely!

Janice K said...

How cool! Pretty amazing that this is the same little bird that will sit closeby while you fill the feeders and then announce to the world it is time to come eat. I guess we are not as welcome in their world as they feel they are in ours.

I liked your discreption of the middle earth. It sounds a lot like what I call the valley dowm behind our home. Actually, we never go down there in the summer, probably because we are not as fond of snakes as you are.;) But everthing is very lush and green and some of the trees are huge in diameter--apparently very, very old. When you are down there you feel like you are in a different world. The area is actually flood plain for Cedar Creek--an area which was originally formed by glaciers.

holdingmoments said...

Fascinating shots Kelly. They certainly left you in no doubt that you should keep moving. ;)

Larry said...

Great post Kelly! I felt like I was in Middle Earth. Super shots of the Chickadees, that first one is awesome!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Boy, they were not happy with you! It sounds like you had quite an adventursome walk--I could picture the mysterious forest. Maybe next time you'll see an elf...

Gary said...

Great post of a very interesting little bird!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Ginny said...

Great photos! I LOVE chickadees but have never seen or heard an angry one.

freebird said...

Great pics. So is that a good game to play?

Kelly said...

...thanks, tex! :-) (I love your photo ID...it's so cute!)

Betsy, danke!

Randy...never happened to me either, but I just started going down into Middle Earth this year. Maybe the birds don't like it! :-)

Mona...thank you...I was worried one would self-combust with agitation. That's why I got out of there...

Elaine...so true!

Songbird...thank you!! :-)

margaret...thank you! The birds have been really entertaining along the trail in the past few days. I don't think they know how to react to the sun! It's been gone basically since November.

Janice....your valley sounds a lot like Middle Earth. I love it there...and it is drastically different from summer to winter! I was looking for snakes but didn't find any...

Keith...thanks...that is an understatement!! :-)

Larry...thank you! I've never seen a chickadee look so vicious! My heart went out to the little birds...

Kathy....thank you! I would not be surprised if I did see one! :-D

Hi Gary! Thank you!

Ginny...I've heard them sounding the alarm, but I'm usually not right next to them. It was a surprise...

timarree...I don't play it, but my hubby, Rick, does. He loves it...and tons of people at work love it also, so I assume it's good. I hear people talking about it. One of these days... I don't play computer games because...I don't know wny! Probably if I have free time I'm drawing or reading or something...

Hilke Breder said...

I love your description of the trail and the magical woods; also of the chickadees' protest. I can just picture it. It shows again that you are not just a good artist but a good writer as well. Wonderful!

Laure Ferlita said...

How dare you go walking in the woods, THEIR woods, to be exact!! I don't think I've ever seen an angry chickadee before today, but he was!

Goodness! Glad you got away before the reinforcements arrived!

Warren Baker said...

Kelly,
There's alot of that threat behaviour going on here too, they really are brave little birds :-)

Wanda..... said...

I've raised the anger in a few birds myself Kelly....our creeks that eventually empty into the Little Miami have areas around them that seem ancient and time forgotten. They are some of my favorite places!
Loved the scene you created in my mind!

NatureFootstep said...

lol, that was really a fun set of shots. It is amazing how agressive the small ones can be.

Toni said...

I'm surprised they stayed still that long for you. Love those chickadees!

Kelly said...

...thank you, Hilke. When something is unusual I try to describe it as best I can...to paint a picture for everyone, but to help me remember it too. I forget so much it's ridiculous. I definitely have an EtchaSketch Head!

Laure...hahaha! That's what it felt like....like the reinforcements had been notified and they were on their way! "Shhhhh.....ixnay on the outingshay!" sort of thing. :-) (Is that how you do pig Latin?)

Warren...they are brave little birds...tiny by fearless and defensive. I love them!

Wanda...we definitely walk the same woods, so I know you must get the same feeling. It's a wonderful spot!

Nature...thank you!! Tiny and brave little birds...

Toni...I wish they stayed still...that's why the shots are all a bit fuzzy. Although...they would stay in a spot and yell, yell, yell, but they were bobbing and weaving....putting their whole body into the scolding! :-)