A Day Without Glitches in the Matrix

Yesterday was the one of those days where everything seemed to happen for a reason. If we had arrived at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area a few minutes too early or too late, we would not have seen the mesmerizing rise and fall of the shore birds on Sand Lake.

I thought of the word “murmuration,” which refers to starlings flying in tight, swirling patterns. I checked the dictionary and discovered that the word “murmuration” refers to the murmuring sound similar to low-pitched noises starlings make as they fly in flocks, swirling this way and that, presumably to avoid predatory birds.

This led to my wondering if starlings were the only birds that form a murmuration.

I wonder of shore birds also do it because we saw them flying in a sort of swirling pattern when there were no visible predators.

We might have missed the light shining just right on a majestic American Sycamore in all its glory, festooned like a Christmas tree with its seed balls hanging from almost every limb. In fact, some people do make Christmas tree ornaments out of them.

We might also have missed the squirrel munching on his lunch in a tree. It was not eating American Sycamore seed balls, probably only because it was not sitting in an American Sycamore tree.

We have walked the Terry Trueblood trail often, in every season, including autumn. We’ve never seen the seed balls before.

And we might have also missed the Subaru Outback with Wisconsin license plates in the parking lot. It was covered with decals. And later I discovered that the word “decal” is short for “decalcomania,” which is exactly how I would describe how the car came to be so heavily decorated—from an episode of decal-co-mania.

A lot happened yesterday which seemed somehow just right. Some people see so-called “glitches in the matrix,” which are events that seem out of place and ill-timed, leading to the idea we’re living in a poorly run computer simulation.

What about the times we see and feel everything occurring so smoothly that we’re surprised by the flow? Maybe we don’t call attention to it so as to avoid interrupting the miracle.

Backyard Animal Parade

I put together some video clips of animals we’ve seen in our back yard over the past year or so. They include deer with fawns, wild turkeys, and raccoons.

I’m not a wildlife expert by any means. I searched the web for questions I had about the behavior of these creatures.

Are raccoons always or even mostly solitary foragers? I guess not, since there were a couple of them finding something to eat in our yard. Maybe it was a couple of former litter mates. I don’t think it was a date. They weren’t paying much attention to each other. Usually, males tend to be solitary as adults.

I’ve read articles by authors who assert that wild turkeys and deer get along pretty good, but obviously some big male turkeys get literally ruffled at the sight of fawns. Male turkeys usually ruffle their back feathers and fan their tails to intimidate other animals—including fawns, at least occasionally. They eat pretty much the same food, so they probably see each other as competitors sometimes. And I saw one YouTube video in which the narrator interpreted a fawn (without spots, maybe a male) rushing at turkeys and the turkey rushing back as a strange game of tag.

Does (plural of doe) tend to wean fawns between 2 and 4 months, but that doesn’t stop fawns from trying to nurse later. However, this doe ignored the fawn trying to nurse. The other fawn seemed to be trying to taste a branch with dead leaves on it—so maybe that one is getting the message.

Nature Walk with Rare Broochaprankumus Species

The other day Sena and I went on a nature walk at the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area. There’s a lot of Mullein growing out there. It’s a pretty invasive prairie type plant. It’s said to have medicinal uses, but don’t eat it.

The tree swallow chicks have all fledged. We didn’t see any water fowl but the red wing blackbirds were raising a ruckus.

There were many common butterflies like Monarchs and Black Swallowtails.

And there were a few rare species—compliments of Sena’s brooches, which you view for the first time ever in our video.

Skimming the Parks

We took a walk on the Hickory Hill Park short Loop and the James Alan McPherson Park. We’ve lived in Iowa City for 34 years and walked only one other Hickory Hill Park trail. That was several years ago.

Just before you start the short Loop, you can read a poem, The Morning by W.S. Merwin.

We also saw a Widow Skimmer Dragonfly for the first time ever. It was spectacular.

We spotted proof positive for Bigfoot—a tree structure. OK, so not proof but interesting all the same.

And we fully noticed the two huge American Sycamore trees flanking the beginning of the walking trail on James Alan McPherson Park.

We also ran into others walking the Loop, often walking their pet animals, including a man with a Bengal cat. We’ve never heard of them. Despite its name, it was spotted more like a leopard than a tiger. It looked like a jungle cat.

It’s a great start to the July 4th holiday. Have a good one.

Be Kind

We went for a walk on the Terry Trueblood Trail yesterday. It was a nice break from reading the news.

Sena wore her shirt which has printed on it, “be kind, be nice, be love.” She got a compliment about it.

We saw a lot of birds, including Tree Swallow nestlings in the nest boxes along the trail.

There were three in one of the boxes. They seemed to be doing well. I thought we saw a Gray Catbird, although it was singing a complex song at the top of its lungs—from a treetop. I guess I’m not sure what it was because Catbirds are usually secretive and makes sounds like a house cat’s mewing.

I guess all I know is that the bird looked gray.

Anyway, friendly people were out and we said hello to each other. Kindness was in the air.

How the Feathered Half Lives

We were out on the Terry Trueblood Trail and saw a lot of different kinds of birds doing the things that birds—and humans do. Looking for mates, mating, nesting, hunting, feeding. We’re a little more romantic about it, at least sometimes.

Often, I wonder. Who are the real bird brains around here?

The Park

It’s balmy for December. Sena and I went for a walk on the Terry Trueblood Trail and ran into our neighbors doing the same thing! Seabirds were diving headlong into the lake. We’ve never seen them do that. Maybe they were fishing for minnows. About a week ago we saw a hawk. It might have been a Cooper’s Hawk or a Sharp-Shinned Hawk. It had a yellow spot at the base of its bill, so I’m going to say it was a Cooper’s Hawk.

We also saw a small brown creature in the lake on a stack of tree limbs. It was eating something. I couldn’t see its tail, but it could have been a young beaver or a muskrat. Its nose tapered instead of looking blunt and boxy, so maybe it was a muskrat.

Last week a squirrel chattered at us almost nonstop. It was pretty grumpy for some reason. We sure know a bald eagle when we see one.

Sometimes it’s more fun to enjoy a little mystery than to hunt for all the right answers.

Stretching Our Legs on the Terry Trueblood Trail

We got out on the Terry Trueblood Trail today to stretch our legs, feel the breeze, and free our minds of the daily news, which is usually bad. It’s nice to just listen to the wind and the birds on the lake.

We see something interesting every time we walk the trail. Caterpillars were pretty busy, trying to cross the sidewalk without getting crushed by bicycle wheels. Some don’t make it. The grasshoppers are a little sluggish.

There’s a myth about woolly bear caterpillars. If they’re all black, some people say it predicts a really bad winter. The longer the brown color band, the milder the winter. We didn’t see any woolly bears today, just some nervous caterpillars trying to avoid getting smashed.

Pelican on the Lake

Sena and I went for a walk on the Terry Trueblood Trail yesterday. We saw a huge apple tree on the trail. We’ve never noticed it before. The boughs were bent and broken from the load of apples. There were a lot of buzzing insects, maybe some annual cicadas among them.

We saw a lone American White Pelican on the lake, the first one we’ve ever seen.  There were no other birds on the water. In fact, we didn’t notice other birds other than the pelican. All but one of the tree swallow nest boxes had been removed. Nothing peeked out from it.

The pelican just bobbed about on the lake. They migrate in autumn to Central and South Americas. They’re often seen in large groups, but this one was alone. They get pretty big, about 5 feet tall, and can have a 9-foot wingspan.

Pelicans are often connected to symbolic meanings including nurturing, humility, charity, healing, wisdom, and sacrifice.

Where were all the other pelicans?

Go Baby Robins!

We have a robin’s nest in our back yard with 3 nestlings. I can hear Momma robin nearby, nervous about me and my camera. I’m careful not to disturb them too much, not to stay too long. I hope they make it. I hope for a lot of things like civility, peace, love, acceptance. It should be alright to hope for this one little thing extra—that baby robins grow up.

Music credit:

Midsummer Sky by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100158

Artist: http://incompetech.com/

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