Friday, March 7, 2008
A Flock of Grey Pelicans In PA...well, not yet
We live in a neighborhood of townhouses where most of the backyards are postage stamp sized, and some folks have done away with "green" completely in favor of brick or concrete or stone from fence to fence...easy to manage, quaint in a self contained urban courtyard sort of way, but for me, sterile.
In the years we've been here, we've planted all sorts of flowers, shrubs and trees native to Pennsylvania, mostly of the woodland variety. My husband is the master gardener, while I get to enjoy his creative genius. Everywhere I look, there is something new to see; the yard is in a constant state of change.
Since the beginning of February, the witch hazel has been blooming. It's a crazy sight--day glow yellow feathery flowers against a back drop of newly fallen snow, but we love the paradox and the irrepressible urge this shrub represents. Yesterday there were snow drops up in a sunny spot and the little pond had thawed enough to provide water to flocks of house sparrows, robins, cardinals, wrens, junkos, and blue jays.
Two nights ago we watched an opossum as she climbed down out of the quince bush the dog had chased her into. She had probably just begun her nocturnal "day". She moved mindfully, nibbled on a bud, yawned, rubbed her face between two paws and meandered like a child from branch to branch--she had to check everything out! Eventually she just wandered off. Wikipedia says she's a pest, but I enjoyed watching her careful, continuous discovery.
The yard is like a little slice of wilderness--so far, in the 10 years I have lived here, this is what I've seen:
1. 3 mallards, one in the pond (I thought it was fake)
3. opossums, even babies
4. a merlin, who visits ( and eats songbirds) regularly
5. garden snakes
6. moles/chipmunks/mice that race to/from the cache of spilled bird seed
7. hundreds of squirrels
8. great horned owls
10. stray cats
11. skunks (just smelled, not seen)
12. And once, while sitting on the deck, I saw a bald eagle circling far above, migrating
That seems like a lot of wilderness for a postage stamp sized yard. I'm glad.