Friday, October 14, 2011


During the forties and fifties as a rural urchin, my criteria for brilliance was quite simple. The kid who engineered the sod dam each summer across Shingle Creek, in my mind... possessed true brilliance and was a genius.

High school and a four year stint in college, afforded me the opportunity to work summers as a telephone lineman. This was an unique experience, because the town had it's own telephone central office. The telephone operators were in command twenty four hours of the day, plugging in calls from all over the town, country and world. My boss Walt, was the first person to teach me an actual craft, from climbing poles to hanging a "crank" telephone. When he opened the back room of the central telephone office and I viewed the incredible maize of telephone wires, it was always astounding. In that old time frame I quipped, "The room had more wiring than the Pentagon." As the years passed, I would stop by the old central office and visit Walt. He was always sitting, propped up in an old swivel chair and greeted me with a smile. I would have to listen, again... to his old stories. His favorite repetition was that when he hired me, he thought the 120 pound kid... soaking wet... would be his worst lineman. He told me that he was amazed of my climbing ability and ended up being his best climber. Walt was a good friend of my dad, who passed a couple of years before I started working for him. He became a conduit to the past and shared many wonderful stories I never knew about my father. At the time, his friendship and wry sense of humor were appreciated. As time has passed, this lost craft is fondly remembered... Walt had true brilliance.

After graduation from college, I meandered through a couple different occupations. My final career, started and ended as a "country school teacher" in a small rural town.

In 1974 I met the new english teacher down the hall from me. We hit it off from the first bell. Jeff's humor and mine intertwined like two stand up comedians... and in our own minds we were "brilliant", interchangeable "straight men." Twenty two years we spent golfing, laughing, teaching and policing the "hallowed halls of ivy." Jeff and I were stalwart hall duty icons. We lined up together in the hall at the beginning of school, at each class ending bell and at the end of the school day. We were the guardians of what we affectionately dubbed, "The Gates of Hell"... that being the intersection of the seventh, eight and ninth grade hall and lockers. I could write a book on our experiences together in school, inservice training and various arduous "hoop jumping" teachers endure. We could never sit together during these sessions, for we would invariably "lose it" if we made any eye contact. It was scary that two people could have such identical perceptions. I could also write a few pages of one liners we would use in dealing with various high school "intellectuals". One such quip to rowdy seniors, who thought they were untouchable the last week of school... "You might want to tell your mother to freeze the graduation cake."

I wasn't much of a golfer when Jeff first arrived, I had played golf sparingly and my clubs basically gathered dust in the garage. My friend was as close to a professional golfer that I encountered and became the school's golf coach. He taught my two sons to be good golfers and respected students of the game. At the time my boys began golfing, Jeff talked me into resuming the golf game. I would marvel at his beautiful "draw" and prowess of chipping and putting. He got me hooked on the game and one day he told me, "You swing like you are screwing yourself in the ground." When you hear a statement like that, you either quit or strive to improve. I chose the latter. Through the years with Jeff's help and my buddy the athletic director, they shaped me into an "adequate" golfer. We played many golf tournaments together and in my "post formative" years I ended up winning the senior golf club championship a couple of times while Jeff won the club championship. His favorite saying after a good round was, "Not bad for a couple of country school teachers."

Our episodes together ended with my retirement and moving out of the area in 2003. Each time I came back to town I would stop at school and visit Jeff and other friends. Jeff ended his english teaching tenure and became the dean of students for the high school. I would always remind him of one of our concepts of "upper management." That being, the administration was busy in their offices "spinning in their chairs." I would now ask him if his chair was stationary....... I never checked.

Jeff retired a year ago and sadly, on September 26 of this year, played his last round of golf. He was found on hole 14 sitting in his golf cart, he had died of a massive heart attack... ironically, the hole where his son Jon scored a hole in one. My wife and I traveled back to school where Jeff's memorial service was held. Hundreds of students, former students, teachers, administrators and townspeople gathered to pay their last respects.

I noticed on the front cover of Jeff's memorial was a design of a Blue Jay. During my retirement years I had become interested in wildlife photography. Jeff was a computer genius and we would email back and forth information about Photoshop and images in general. We also would discuss cameras and I knew he was interested in photography, but did not know to what extent. It was not until after the memorial service that I found out from Jeff's sister how much he enjoyed my bird images. He had sent me photos of an albino deer, but I never knew he was interested in bird photography.

The Blue Jay design is now dear to my heart, for I spend countless hours almost every day of the year photographing birds. Each morning at daybreak, I throw seeds and peanuts on the lawn and watch six to eight Blue Jays fly in for breakfast... they now are a living memory of a Master Teacher, loving husband, good friend and another chapter of brilliance that has touched my life.

I don't fear death, but I sure don't like those three-footers for par.
~ Chi Chi Rodriguez

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are now "en masse" at my feeders, fueling up for their long flight. The brilliant lavender fireweed has reached it's finality... when the bloom spirals to the top of the flower, it signals fall... at least that is the lore shared by many "Northshorites."
There are many harbingers of fall, but none so abrupt and timely as the waves of warblers heading south. My Cedar Ridge has been taken over by many species of wood warblers, as well as a host of other song birds. Some species, such as the White-throated Sparrow have been here all spring and summer... now being joined by dozens of juveniles from points north.

The title of this thread "Birding in One Spot" is applicable to most bird photographers. Many have captured stunning images from perch setups and the beauty of backyards. In the past couple of weeks since the start of what I call the "reverse migration," I have ventured to a spot in the Superior National Forest. In my view, it is a magical spot, because of many reasons. The first is that it has a variety of habitat... mountain maple, hazelnut shrubs, white birch, spruce and deadfalls. All conducive to excellent feeding spots, for the ravenous migrants that are passing through in large numbers. Secondly, I now have my second generation of chickadees and Rb Nuthatches, swarming around me, eating sunflower hulls out of my hand. Plus the loyal White-throated Sparrows that flutter around my feet, eating the seeds I toss to them. I have stood in this same spot for many days in the early mornings, watching and waiting for the migrants to fly in.

Northern Parula

They come in waves and like clockwork, they watch the numbers of chickadees and nuthatches land on my shoulders and eat out of my hand.

Chestnut-sided Warbler Juvenile

Curiosity then takes over and they fly in, ever so close to see what my bird friends are doing.

Mourning Warbler

Each day I watch as the warblers fly in, how they accept the presence of the chickadees. Some mingle in a friendly manner, while some chase the chickadees through the boughs in winding, laser flights... almost comical, but certainly entertaining.

American Redstart

Most days I spend around three hours standing in my spot observing the coming and going of the birds. When a wave of birds fly in, it is instant chaos. The term "head on a swivel" applies here, for missing good shots is a given... it seems impossible to catch all the action... but what a blast! The warblers seem to work the immediate area for about fifteen to twenty minutes, then they are gone. It becomes quiet and even my chickadees take a break and rest out of sight.

Tennessee Warbler

Wilson's Warbler

Myrtle Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

The most prolific warblers have been the Nashville, Tennessee, Chestnut-sided, Blackburnian, Mourning, Magnolia, American Redstart and the Black & White. I generally see up to 23 species of wood warbler through the spring, summer and fall seasons... the past couple of weeks around a dozen or so. I mentioned to my friend Al the other day... where the heck were the waves of warblers this spring, as it was very quiet with small flocks. I guess it makes sense to note, that a high percentage of the warblers are first year birds or juveniles. Making it difficult to discern the species of these nondescript warblers.

As always and as the days shorten, I will miss my warblers. It is certain as the sun rises and sets, that they will return home to their nesting grounds in April. Until then, I wish them a safe journey.

Lying under an acacia tree with the sound of the dawn around me, I realized more clearly the facts that man should never overlook: that the construction of an airplane, for instance, is simple when compared [with] a bird; that airplanes depend on an advanced civilization, and that were civilization is most advanced, few birds exist. I realized that If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.

— Charles A. Lindbergh, interview shortly before his death, 1974.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


My eldest son Jean and I went fishing together on Father's Day in 2002... the following is a true story of our trip... expertly recalled and written by Jean. In my eyes, it is a true classic, worthy of sharing... thanks again Jean, a day I will not forget.

Dad & Jean

A funny thing happened at the boat landing

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

A shot of Dad with a furry friend

Back in 2002, my parents still lived in central Minnesota, and Dad and I had a somewhat regular tradition of fishing on Father's Day weekend. Mid June was always a great time to catch bluegills with fly rods, as they would be spawning in the shallows and eager to hit surface flies. So we would usually go to a favorite small lake in pursuit of panfish.

Yesterday, buried in the archives of my e-mail, I found this story I wrote to share with friends. It recaps a humorous experience Dad and I had on Father's Day weekend in 2002 while at the boat landing of Rabbit Lake in Aitkin County. I sent this to Dad yesterday just for kicks, and he has been laughing about it for the past two days now. The story seems to have gotten better with age for us, and I had forgotten how funny this whole episode was. I thought I would share it on my blog. Every word is true, and to clarify,
"The Osbourne's" was a favorite reality show of ours at the time, hence the reference to Ozzy, "The Prince of Darkness" himself.

A Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, especially mine! Enjoy...and work on your boat landing skills, will ya?! :)

Saturday, Dad and I made our way out to the little lake that we fished last Father's Day weekend. Well, we got into yet another bonanza of fish.

We caught and released over two dozen crappies (middle of the day, bright sun...what gives?), and easily three times as many bluegills on the fly rod. My hands are scarred and sore from taking off so many fish and getting stabbed with fins, etc. It was an absolutely legendary day on the lake. One for the books, without question.

However, one of the more entertaining moments came as we were trying to get in at the boat landing.

Dad had said earlier in the day that it never will always have to wait for somebody at the boat landing. It didn't matter that we were amongst the only people on the lake. Murphy's Law says that there will always be someone launching or landing when we are trying to get in.

Well, sure enough, Dad was right. Not only was he right, but we also got a front row seat to witnessing a father having a really bad day.

We cruised up to the landing where we see our Father of the Year candidate, his wife Sharon (we weren't introduced, rather, we deduced this from the occasional use of the phrase "Dammit Sharon!"), and four small children, the oldest no more than ten. They were trying to bring the boat into shore. The whole situation just screamed of somebody pressuring the dad into taking the whole family fishing on the weekend.

So, we sat quietly on the water out in front of the landing.

Dad made the observation that this guy had one of those trailers with the rollers that catch the sides of the boat, and it had no carriage in the middle to help center it. Dad also noticed that this guy had the trailer too far in the water, which meant that the back of the boat would still be floating when they are trying to trailer it, making it REALLY hard to center it. And, to top it off, Sharon and one of the children were still IN the boat, making it even that much more difficult to align on the trailer.

So, we waited and watched.

The dad is yelling instructions to Sharon. Sharon is lying on the bow of the boat, trying to hook the rope from the winch to the boat itself. One kid is in the water trying to hold the boat steady. The smallest child is sitting on shore crying. The other two kids are asking daddy lots questions. Daddy is getting mad.

Finally, after a whole lot of messing around, they seemingly have everything situated. He gets in the van to pull the boat out of the water. He pulls forward, and there is a loud "clank". I didn't see exactly what happened, but I suspect the boat shifted on the trailer. He stops, gets out, walks to the back of the van, looks at the boat, and exclaims very loudly:

"Well, what a F&%$ING load of SH&%!!!"

The guy completely lost it, unleashing a stream of profanity that might still be echoing throughout southern Aitkin County. He re-releases the boat into the water in an attempt to get it on the trailer correctly.

Now the dad is shouting instructions to everyone. Sharon says nothing. The smallest child, still crying since the time we pulled up to the landing, is having a complete meltdown. One of the middle children is bugging the dad, saying, "Daddy, I have to pee!" Straight from the pages of a Dr. Benjamin Spock parenting book, the dad says:

"Just drop your F&%$ING pants and go!"

I am absolutely dying...appalled, yet oddly entertained by this buffoon who appears to have never landed a boat before. I had to turn my back on the boat landing just so this guy wouldn't see how hard I was laughing at him. At this point, my dad is goading me into shouting to the shore to ask this gentleman if he is having a good time. I resist.

Finally, after about 20 minutes and a whole lot of shouting, they actually get the boat out of the water so we could bring ours to shore. The crowning moment was the oldest kid coming down to our boat and saying to us, "We're sorry it took so long."

This guy, the Father of the Year candidate, actually made his KID come down and apologize to us!

My Dad, ever the gentleman, resisted the urge to say, "That's OK, you weren't the dumbass that backed the trailer in too far," and just said to the kid, "Hey, no problem. Stuff like that happens when you are fishing."

We get our boat out in minutes, and we are packing up our gear as they began to leave. As the happy family was driving off into the sunset, their boat still not sitting on the trailer correctly, my Dad launches into his Ozzy Osbourne impersonation:

"Sharon! SHARON!!!"

I am doubled over in laughter at this point, thinking thoughts like "I am the Prince of f&@#ing Darkness, Sharon! I'll have nothing to do with landing the boat!!!" I was wondering if I had just witnessed Ozzy himself!

The rest of our evening was comprised of telling Mom about our great fishing stories, having incredible NY strip steaks on the grill with some Whitehall Lane Cab, and me shouting at random times for no apparent reason, "Well, what a F&%$ING load of SH&%!!!"

It was a really fun Father's Day weekend.

So with that, to my Dad, Happy Father's Day! Thanks for the awesome fishing outing!

And to the Father of the Year candidate at the boat landing...Ozzy, or whoever you were...Happy Father's Day to you too. I hope you are having a better day. :)

Friday, June 17, 2011


I suspect "Magical Moments" in bird photography, conjures up many different ideas and visions for us all.

Through the years I have enjoyed my hikes in the forest. Each day, I usually walk, stand, listen and watch for many hours. What shows up, dictates how many miles I walk or how long I stand in one area. I have learned what brush or trees draw which birds, for nesting or a food source. As an example... I "scout" spruce deadfalls that have an abundance of spruce beetles, I then know that this would be a prime area for the Black-backed Woodpecker. In this spring time frame, I am now watching different nests built in hazelnut shrubs, birch trees, cedar trees, etc.... waiting for the hatch and fledgling feeding.
I have also learned to "whistle in" various species of birds. I also have a flock of chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches that follow me for hours... drawing in many curious, species of birds.

All of the above has produced some interesting "Magical Moments" for me in this spring's photography.

This first image is a Chestnut-sided Warbler. He was drawn close to me by my gathering chickadees who were eating out of my hand. I credit hundreds of photos to my chickadee friends.

The most endearing bird that has flown in this spring is the Eastern Towhee. I found this bird in the middle of May with the help of my son and wife as we were birding our ridge. I did a thread on him awhile back and figured he would be long gone in a short period of time. The reason being, I had never seen this bird in this area and he was out of his range. A few weeks ago, I was surprised to hear his piercing one note, echoing over the ridge. I followed his repetitive whistle until it abruptly quit. I began whistling his note and waited... to my amazement, he again started his one note chirp and had moved closer to me. I spent the morning watching him work the brushy ground for worms and grubs, taking time off to chirp and pose on branches.

I also observed that he interacted with the White-throated Sparrows. He was drawn to their songs as they sang from deadfall perches. Some days he seemed to enjoy their presence and on other days, he gave chase when he heard their song. It seemed to be no rhyme nor reason to his antics with the sparrows. One day he picked up dry leaves with his beak as he followed a sparrow through the dense underbrush.

I learned if I whistled the White-throated Sparrow song, it would draw both the towhee and sparrows where I waited.

My spring prize so far is this Winter Wren image. One morning I heard her long, lovely song coming from a distant, deadfall mess. I have scarred shins to show the difficulty of past and present Winter Wren hunts. This time I planted myself with the morning light to my back and repeated her long, melodic song. She started her song again and popped up on a dead fall branch and serenaded me. I caught images of her singing and she posed beautifully in the morning sunshine. I believe, from the hundreds of Winter Wren shots, this is my best.

The Chipping Sparrow shot came from a nest I discovered. The pair of sparrows watched me and my chickadees, as we passed by an eight foot spruce tree. I noticed one of the sparrows had a wisp of dried grass in her bill. I walked a short distance away and watched while the female sparrow darted into one of the short spruces with the grass. Here, about three feet above the ground she had constructed an all grass nest. She now is sitting on four eggs.

Norris and Noreen are the names of my pet Red-breasted Nuthatches. Each year and I believe it is the fourth, they introduce me to their fledglings during the first two weeks in June.

Today I almost had one of the fledglings eating out of my hand like mom and dad... it will be a matter of time and another "Magical Moment" for me.

"There was magic in a forest, on a mountain top or seashore; in the heart of a desert and, yes, even on a city street. There was beauty in humankind and the creatures with which they shared this world; and there was mystery, too."
... Charles de Lint, Spiritwalk


Monday, May 30, 2011


Through the years, Cedar Ridge has produced some colorful, wildlife characters. We have had tame Fishers, Red Fox, Gray Fox, numerous birds, interact with us... but non so endearing as the White-tailed Deer we call Black Buck.

The Black Buck showed up as a first year twin fawn in the winter of 2005. He and his brother were orphans from either the fall hunt, wolves or highway 61. The little guy and his brother hung around our house each day, yarded up in our white cedars with a few other deer.

Each morning and before dark, I would bring them a bucket of corn in the front yard as a treat from a day of browsing. Blackie was precocious from our first meeting; when I would walk out with the corn, he would be first in line with his head in the bucket. I told Mary, that I hoped he had more sense when he wandered the forest, especially during the hunting seasons.

The advent of warm weather and the snow melt, signals the "inland deer" departure. The angle of the sun on February 13, starts the drip of icicles and the melt of snow on southern exposures. Especially along the steep ditches of highway 61, adjacent to Lake Superior. March and the first weeks of April, are dangerous times for drivers on highway 61. At times, I have counted deer by the dozens along the sixteen mile stretch of highway to Grand Marais. This "melt", signals the large number of deer in the "Jonvick Deer Yard", to begin their slow migration back inland for the summer months.

Blackie left in April that first spring, along with his brother and a few friends. I remember it was a particularly nice day, I told Mary I was going to have a "talk" with them about leaving. I gave them their last corn treat and told them it was time to go... no more corn until January of 2006. Blackie ate out of my bucket for the last time and I wished him a safe journey. A couple of his friends came back the next day, but he and his brother never returned... bizarre, I know.

We do have what I call "local deer" hang out through the summer months. I am in the forest every day and I see very few deer anywhere on the ridge during the summer. I have never seen my friend Blackie any time during the summer and fall, nor any other deer that winter with us.

I am constantly busy during the summer and fall, chronicling the advent and departure of song birds, especially the Wood Warblers. The thousands of photos and editing keeps my mind off past bird and animal departures. It is not until the middle of October or so, that I think of my friend Blackie and wonder of his safety and location. Firearm deer season usually begins the first weekend of November. At that time, I take a hiatus from wandering the ridge as I would be "running the gauntlet" of blaze orange hunters. I have pretty much given up "pulling the trigger" on deer, Ruffed Grouse or hunt any other bird or animal. Not that I have altered my views of others hunting. When you have snowshoed through a herd of deer with a camera... or sat and photographed a drumming grouse on the same log, I now find I haven't the heart to hunt them. I have had deer follow me home through the forest in the dead of winter and Ruffed Grouse hop off their drumming logs and walk with me to the edge of their territory... so now I hunt with a camera and actually get much closer to these magnificent creatures, in more ways than one.

Every year since the winter of 2005 Blackie has returned home, except the winter of 2007. I will never know the reason why he didn't return that winter, but he never showed up. The January of 2008, I was sitting in my chair watching television and a deer walked up on our patio. I did a double take, because low and behold, this skinny, geeky deer staring at me through the glass was my friend Blackie. I jumped up and opened the door and yelled "Blackie." He stood there and waited for me to put on my jacket and grab my empty corn bucket. I went out our side door and headed for the garage to fill up the corn bucket.... on my heels, strolled the geeky one in his own slow fashion, following me to the garage. He stood outside and waited patiently, I held out the bucket and he immediately stuck his head in it... my old friend had returned home for the winter, missing an entire year.

Each year I expect not to see his return. Bow season, firearm deer season and now with the addition of black powder muzzle loading season, the hunt is on from September into December. Plus Gray Wolves and highway 61, add to the dilemma of the White-tail's longevity. So it is always a pleasant surprise to see Blackie wander in, usually the second week in January. I wrote a post earlier on this blog, discussing if his survival was that of luck or intelligence. As years have passed, I believe it is definitely luck, but after observing his demeanor and alertness, he never misses a sound or scent. He is truly a furry, alarm system.

Other deer follow him home, we usually have eight or so, I don't want to feed a "herd" of deer for various reasons. So I will feed Blackie out of a bucket and give a couple of the little first year "goats" as I call them, some treats. His buck friends, fight over the residue while Blackie stands on guard, always alert. He is the kindest buck I have observed, he doesn't rear up and beat the little deer and does with his hooves. Rather, he avoids any conflict all together... walking away and constantly watching. I told Mary, "I see why he has survived these past seven years."


This year was a bit disconcerting as Blackie returned the last week of November for his seventh year. Disconcerting, because muzzleloading season was still open into December. This was the first year I didn't recognize him as he was sporting a spectacular, fifteen point rack. Every other year, he would return in January having shed his antlers. Mary and I saw this beautiful buck walk into the yard and stand looking at the house. I quickly ran to get my camera as this was one awesome looking buck. I carefully shot some photos through the glass door so I wouldn't scare him. We both silently moved from window to window, trying to figure out how to get a window open for an unobstructed photo. We both were admiring and counting the fifteen point rack, until I carefully looked at his head and ears. Focusing on his right ear, I noticed the tell tale "notch" that Blackie had acquired at one point in his seven years. Finally, we had gotten to see what the old deer looked like in all his buck-like splendor. I opened the door and talked to him and as always, he followed me to the garage for his corn treat. Now the trick was, to get him through the rest of the hunting season......

Blackie didn't keep his antlers for very long, one day he walked up on the front lawn with one antler. I had seen him not long before with both antlers, so I knew it couldn't be far from our house. I went out and walked a short distance down the hill and sure enough, it was protruding nicely out of the snow. The next day he walked up and shed the remaining antler on the lawn. We thought it kind of him to leave us his memorabilia. We are now trying to figure out an appropriate way to display them in our house.

This year was a particularly difficult and cold winter, the deer browsed heavily and the wolves had a record year in deer kills on my ridge. Blackie again survived the hunters, weather and wolves... he departed in April, he didn't leave leave leading the other deer as usual, but hung around and spent late afternoons with me. I told him it was time for him to leave and find his inland "safe house." I would love to have a GPS attached to him so I would know where he goes and where he hangs out.

In retrospect, maybe watching, waiting and anticipating an old friends return is more appropriate and heartwarming... we will see.

"I ask people why they have deer heads on their
walls. They always say because it's such a
beautiful animal. There you go. I think my
mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her."
Ellen DeGeneres

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Winter Wren

This week I was checking my bird migration journal and found that in 2010, the first Winter Wren flew in to my forest on April 3rd. Last year, April was a marvelous month here on my Cedar Ridge. Not only was it a record early arrival of the Winter Wren, but the Ruffed Grouse started their "drumming" on April 10th... which was also quite early.

Winter Wren

Ruffed Grouse

This year the snow is still deep in the forest. Today when I was out investigating a massive flock of screaming crows... I was sinking in snow almost knee deep. It seems many migrating birds that arrived early last year, are on hold. The juncos arrived April 1st and yesterday the first Purple Finch flew into my front yard... five days later than last year.

Purple Finch

There are many sounds of spring that uplift the birders spirit. I always enjoy the Black-capped Chickadee's "pee-wee" song, a chorus that grows as the days pass into spring. Many think of spring as they first hear the American Robin's roosting melody, as it drones into early evening. However, my favorite spring bird song is that of the Winter Wren. The little wren's song is arguably the longest and most beautiful, as it that echos through the forest. When I hear it the first time, it erases many of winter's cold memories.

Through the years, I have attempted to follow this little bird from nesting to fledging. In 2008 I found a wren nest under a tangled deadfall. I watched the adults zip into the underbrush with bills full of insects, never able to see the chicks. I was fortunate to capture the fledgings and have included some past shots I took with a super zoom camera. Wood warblers and the various sparrow species, I think are difficult to capture. These birds are my principle photo targets during the spring, summer and fall months... but for me, the Winter Wren remains the most difficult bird to capture in the forest. The "tangled deadfalls" and in my forest they are a photographers nightmare. Great for photographing a "working woodpecker", but for following a bouncing, feathered "ping pong ball"... not so much.

One thing I have learned, the mother will sing constantly and fly in a large circle to distract you from the fledglings. When this happens you know the fledglings are close at hand and it is best to stay in one spot and wait... she will eventually fly in with insects and you can find the family. The fledged wrens usually gather or bunch up on a deadfall log... trying to photograph them without an explosion of tiny feathers is difficult.

The little wren is not back yet, but I hope to hear her beautiful song soon... and begin the new season's merry chase.

"He who shall hurt the little wren/Shall never be beloved by men." ... William Blake