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Ramble with Storm: Ugly starling beauty & undercounting goslings

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stormtight.jpg Mulling things on my morning ramble

with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.

Starlings are the ugliest of our common birds. But I will give the non-natives this: they have quite the variety of calls. I have been fascinated by this for the past week or so. Not only do they have a variety of sounds or calls they give forth, but some of those calls are quite beautiful.

It's somewhat jarring to hear this beautiful call, then find the caller only to see an ugly starling on a low limb of an elm.

It was a morning that seemed prime for robins with all the dampness, but in town it was much more of the cooing of mourning doves on all sides. Of course, a blue jay had to add its jarring presence.

A gray squirrel loped off, unnoticed by Storm, near downtown. Just a beautiful morning with the rain having lifted out. For now.

Yesterday afternoon, I found my first morel mushroom of the year, so I stretched out the extended ramble. Storm was not happy when I slowed to the crawl I use for looking for morels, instead of the usual fast walk of our morning rambles.

No morels. But it smelled right. And I might bring the kids back on Sunday to check around with their sharper eyes.

From a mile or so north of the town pond, I heard a rooster crowing. I mean as in chicken, not as in pheasant. Apparently spring was in his blood or something else, because he kept it up.

A mallard pair flew off from the south edge of the north old clay pit. A lone Canada goose honked and floated near them. On the north end, a great egret hunted.

I tried doing an actual count of red-winged blackbirds around the north pit, but gave up and just settled on dozens.

Apparently, my counting skills are way off.

I found the three goose families with goslings on the south pit. In only a few days, the goslings have grown remarkably. And added numbers.

I counted seven in the one family, which I had originally counted five in; four in the family I originally three in. At least I can count to two, the third family had what I originally counted, two.

A night heron took off from the east side of the south pit and apparently spooked a great blue heron, which flew back north with a squawk.

A male cardinal added color to the last ancient grill still standing by the town pond.

As we neared our front steps, a black squirrel with a stub tail, the one I believe the younger kids call ``Stumpy,'' ran across the road.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on May 4, 2013 7:35 AM.

Chicago outdoors: Chicago River tour, main stem and South Branch (photos) was the previous entry in this blog.

Ramble with Storm: Iron Man 3 & more goslings is the next entry in this blog.

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