The day was hot and the air was thick with mosquitos. They sucked my blood as I listened for birds and searched for nests. I met with a small cottonmouth sunning itself on a dead limb. We nodded at one another in recognition. He continued to bask, and I continued to my next point count. I must have walked 5 miles today, or at least it felt like it. My legs grew tired and I tripped over vine tangles and fallen trees.
I finished my last point count at 11 AM. The cicadas of Brood 23 were humming at an impressive pitch. I had three hours to search for new nests. Nest searching is such a rush for me. I love following the sound of scolding birds, putting myself in their feathers and guessing where, if I were a bird, would I put my nest? Sometimes I'm spot-on and as I approach that dark shape in that small ash a nest materializes out of the shadows and I am awash with glee. But it can be enormously disappointing at times. After the second hour passed I was on the verge of tears as I crouched behind a low shrub trying to see where a female indigo bunting was heading with her insect morsel. She had spotted me and sat chipping above my head, alerting the avian community to my unwelcome presence. The sun was beating down and mosquitos nibbled at my flesh. I moved back behind a large snag, trying to hide. She spotted me again and scolded even more intensely. I was nearly ready to give up. And then I spotted it. A nest, nestled into the new growth of the A plot. Nearly invisible. Ahhhhhhhhh. Bliss. This is what heroin must feel like. I approached the nest and three tiny heads popped up. I flagged the nest and moved on in search of the next one.
|So many places for an indigo bunting nest to hide...|