Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Eastern Meadowlark in a summer meadow...

I found an online version of "The Complete Prose Works of Walt Whitman" today and read a few passages out of "Specimen Days" (click here for a link to the online version of this book). If you jump to page 196, you'll find the following entry for March 16, "A Meadow Lark:"
March 16.—Fine, clear, dazzling morning, the sun an hour high, the air just tart enough. What a stamp in advance my whole day receives from the song of that meadow lark perch’d on a fence-stake twenty rods distant! Two or three liquid-simple notes, repeated at intervals, full of careless happiness and hope. With its peculiar shimmering slow progress and rapid-noiseless action of the wings, it flies on a way, lights on another stake, and so on to another, shimmering and singing many minutes.
It was such a beautiful entry and reminded me of an encounter with an Eastern Meadowlark I had this summer at Voice of America (VOA) Park. I went back to look at the photos I took, and decided this time around they were good enough to post. Back in June, when the living was easy, and the birds were lit by warm sunlight, I was a lot pickier. These photos didn't make the cut back then, but now......after weeks of gray clouds and rain, those happy, summery, blurry yellow chest feathers look just fine to me...

...an Eastern Meadowlark sings sweetly at VOA Park in West Chester, Ohio.

It was beautiful day when this Eastern Meadowlark sang out his song. I remember wanting to lock the feelings in...it was warm, sunny, and breezy, and lots of Bobolinks, Red-winged Blackbirds and Meadowlarks sang from every corner of the meadow. All the birds were busy sitting on nests or feeding babies, and insects buzzed nonstop. A breeze whipped the June energy through the grasses...and the daisies, Black-eyed Suzans, and hot pink Dianthus nodded approval with each gust. Summer was at full tilt, and it was a perfect day.

Eastern Meadowlarks are short-distance migrants and can be found year-round at VOA, but the birds you see perched amid falling snowflakes in the winter may not be the same birds braving the heat in the summer. Many of our wintering meadowlarks will migrate further north for the breeding season and will be replaced by more southern birds completing their short-distance migration, so this bird and the birds that are at the park now, are probably not the same.

16 comments:

jyothisethu said...

thanks for sharing the Meadow Lark story...

KaHolly said...

Perfect!! Isn't it fulfilling when something just clicks with you like that? Your photos of the meadowlark are wonderful. I enjoyed this post very much and thank you for sharing! ~karen

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Gorgeous pictures of the meadowlark, Kelly... That little guy must have been really SINGING.
Hugs,
Betsy

TexWisGirl said...

amazing how our perspective changes when we are hungry for summer sunshine again!

MjB said...

I like the Whitman quote, and it's always nice to be reminded that there are birds at the VOA--though fewer each season! When Whitman was wandering around the Long Island area as a newspaper guy, there were some fairly large native prairies, and that "prairie sense" ends up in Leaves of Grass. Some publisher should put out an edition of Leaves of Grass with a packets of Little Blue Stem seeds and a CD with Meadowlark songs and calls. (My word verification for this comment is "funbel." Fitting somehow. Sounds like a wildflower of some kind.) I enjoyed your post. Take care.

Elva Paulson said...

Ah yes, it is fun to go back and savor those summer moments.

We find meadowlarks one of the birds that are difficult to get close to. I think you should be well satisfied with those photos.

Birding is Fun! said...

Meadowlark song = Joy

Thanks for you post and nice photos.

Gillian Olson said...

What a beautiful bird, love the last shot, thanks for sharing this little story.

Montanagirl said...

Love these! Meadowlarks are one of my favorite birds.

Rick said...

Thanks for the link, Kelly. I am also thirsting for some warm clear and sunny days and dreaming of Florida in March. By the way, we have made arrangements for Pinkney Island on the way home. Should be great and thanks for the heads up.

Kathiesbirds said...

Love the sun-shiney hopefulness of these photos!

NCmountainwoman said...

I love meadowlarks. The only times we see them are when we get out of our woods and walk in the clearings. What a treat to listen to his song.

Tammie Lee said...

love the wonderful colors in this bird. beautiful captures.

E said...

Beautiful, great bird and lovely story.
Many hugs and happy holidays, dear Kelly.

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone. I love seeing the meadowlarks at VOA. They are the most timid of the birds there, and it is hard for me to get close enough to photograph them, but it is amazing how we reject photos when the "living is easy," but soften to them when the "times get tough!" :-)

Elaine said...

Perfect shots to brighten up the winter! I love the Meadowlarks, but sadly they don't come this far north....