Saturday afternoon, when I was bicycling in the park, I came upon the above pictured flicker. He was perched atop a street light and was easy to find. (You can tell that he is a male, because of the black malar coming off his beak.) First, he would call out, wicka-wicka-wicka, then he would pound his beak against the aluminum street light housing, rat-a-tat-tat. Then he would pause and I could hear another male flicker, not too far off, repeating his message, wicka-wicka-wicka and then rat-a-tat-tat. After the other bird was done, this little guy would begin the call and response again. It wasn’t until after several rounds of this that I realized that the other male flicker was at the adjacent street lamp, just fifty yards down the road. I never saw nor heard any female flickers, but they had to be there, because why else would these two dudes be strutting their stuff?
A spring or two ago, Anne was in the classroom, but the window was open and it was a beautiful spring day. Just outside, a male cardinal was perched on a tree branch, singing his heart out. It sounded like who-it cheer, who-it cheer, cheer-cheer-cheer; cheer, who-it-who-it-who-it-who-it; wheat-wheat-wheat-wheat. Anne whistled back to the bird and then interpreted for the class, look-at-me-girls, look-at-me-girls, look-at-me-girls, look-look-look. One sad individual asked her, “Where did you learn to speak pigeon?” I say sad, because not only was he unable to distinguish between a cardinal and a pigeon, but he failed in his hometown, which is also the home of the Saint Louis Cardinals.
One last spring story, this one is from the plant kingdom. I got up and out of bed this morning early enough to beat today’s rain and go for another bicycle ride in the park. There were no wildlife encounters on this ride, but I did hear a number of interesting, if unidentifiable bird calls. This spring story comes down to what I saw, while climbing the last hill on the way home. There was a green sheen on the raised tread of my bicycle tire. The green was from the pollen that all of the plants and trees have been busily pumping out. Today’s rain ought to give some momentary relief to all of the allergy suffers in town. Oh by the way, they are also forecasting snow for tonight.
Our Saturday was a full day and night. By the end of it, I was sore, tired and sunburned, my bad. To make matters worse, I didn’t sleep well, when I finally did make it to bed, too much caffeine during Saturday night’s trivia contest. So, it shouldn’t have been too surprising that on Sunday morning, we both rolled over and went back to sleep and missing our planned Trailnet group bicycle ride. This old saying comes to mind, “If you want to soar with the eagles you can’t hoot with the owls”. After sheltering in place all morning, we finally launched on our bikes at the butt-crack of noon.
Our destination was the Earth Day Festival in Forest Park. We’ve been attending this festival for years now. Trailnet was there, operating not one, but two valet bicycle parking lots. That was our first stop. We quickly bumped into Susan, our across the street neighbor, and fellow Team Kaldis member. Next we met Kitty, one of Dan’s friend. Anne recognized her from the back, because of her rather distinctive hairdo. She is married now and they are soon visiting LA.
Year’s ago Anne (Citizen of the Year) and I were driving Kitty and Dan to the bus station. They were on their way to either Philly or Alabama; I can’t remember which trip this was. Kitty’s cell phone rang. It was her mother with some last minute detail. Afterwards Kitty told her mom that her python had escaped its cage, but not to worry, just leave the bedroom door closed. A minute later her mom called back with the news that Kitty’s bedroom door was open.
Anne and I had some nachos and then went in search of Pat from Saturday night. She had gotten up early and led the Earth Day parade. Joanie arrived then too. Leaving Anne in good company, I headed for home. I managed to stay up until Anne made it home too, but I was already in bed by the time she stepped out of the shower. I guess the weekend had finally caught up with me.