Monthly Archives: March 2014

Held Over


Winter has held on,
here in Southern Maine,
way past it’s welcome.

We are marching fast
into the final week in March
and snow and ice still clog the marsh.

Returning birds, expecting buds and bugs,
find cold comfort in a February landscape
and flock to backyard feeders.

And the marsh, normally alive
with bird-song by now,
languishes silent despite
the promise of the spring sun.



On the final day
of the Space Coast Birding Festival
when many had already given up
and gone home…
weather not the best,
and the birds scarce…
a group of us came around
the same corner at Merritt Island,
almost to the end of Blackpoint Drive,
and ran snack into this
amazing pool full of mixed waders…
dozens of Spoonbills, six or eight Wood Storks,
hundreds of Egrets: Snowy and Great,
sixty White Ibis and a handful
of Glossy, with one or two
Little Blue Herons and the same
in Greats… all feeding frantically
on some hatch of shrimp, or
spawn of minnows, turning
the little pool into a wildlife
spectacular to rival any in the world.

And we stood there and took shot after shot,
look after look, knowing we might,
none of us, ever see the like again.

And people actually wonder why we bird?

Steampunk Psychedelic


Like a steampunk psychedelic mashup
the Claw-tipped Emerald
hangs among the bright red berries:
it’s hydolic strutted wings fragile
with power, it’s jeweled body,
werewolf haired in all the wrong places,
rests unlikely, caught between
absolute form and ultimate function,
between strange beauty
and industrial design,
it bends the mind like a…
like a…
psychedelic steampunk collision.

No words!


Bosque Snow Storm


Geese and Cranes descend
with the snow,
taking a bit more care
than the flakes where they fall.

Backing wings to break,
looking for the landing…
and all about them
the snow falls careless
to cover the corn stubble.

The camera catches,
arrests the moment
and it’s movement,
flakes and Geese and Cranes,
frozen in their separate attitudes.

I could look forever.



“Bold as a chickadee!”
ought to be a cliché:

the very definition of boldness
without backup, without good cause,
without substantial reason, unless,
of course, you count cute.

(I do.)

No Shame!


The squirrel knows no shame.

He sits enthroned among the feeders
eating my seed,
fairly grinning at me,
and daring me to stop him.

He is the charming thief,
so cute you have to smile
as he picks your pocket,
empties the bird feeders,
carries off your suet.

It is ingrained in the American character.

We admire the clever thief,
the plausible conman,
the handsome outlaw.
Think of the books, the movies,
the legends and folk tales.

Maybe it is more human than American.

No, the squirrel knows no shame…
and, paradoxically,
we think the better of him
for it.

March Winter


It is March
and winter is lingering long
on the marshes by the Mousam,
making slow work of leaving,
frustrating spring migrants
and long-suffering Mariners alike.

What can you do?

It is winters like this one
that make Mariners stoic…
or, what is probably better sense,
migrants in their own right.

Eagle Pair


The Eagles sit
at the bend of the Mousam,
at the end of the rapids,
just where the ice closes in.

I sort my feelings,
such a complex
of patriotism
and knowledge of
the nature of the bird…
of awe of the predator,
and awareness of the scavenger…

It is complicated…
not the Eagle itself,
singular and self-sufficient,
full of pure eagleness…
but all the stuff we have
piled on the image of the bird.

I breathe it all out,
breathe in the essence
of Eagle sitting at the ice edge…

take my shot
and hope to catch
only eagleness.

Slapstick Pelicans


Don’t look now but I think the clowns are following us…

Ah, the life of a Pelican!