Keeping Undercover

It’s June, a month for lots of bird action on Mendenhall River wetlands, at least in an ordinary year. It’s also the season for wild flowers. Wide swaths of shooting stars form magenta islands on the sea of green grass that borders the river. Buttercups and purple lupine flowers look like they are competing with each other for growth space.

            The birds are more to be heard than seen on this sunny day. The subtle tsit-tsit-tsit song of Savannah sparrows surround Aki and I as we cross the grassland. I begin to doubt whether we see any birds and then spot one of the Savannahs frozen in place on the top of an otherwise bare tree chunk. It gives the little dog and I a hard look as we pass buy.

            At the end of walk, as we move along a wire fence, I spot another bird frozen in place. It’s a silent American robin standing at attention on the fence. It looks like a guardsman at a British army post. Until now, the only robins we have seen this year landed just ahead of us on the trail, then flew off just as we reached it. Seconds later it land a little up the trail to lead us away from its nest.  This robin looked like he’d pull out a gun if we tried to get too close.

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