Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Once Upon A Holly Berry

The story you are about to read is true, my name has not been changed to protect what little self respect I might have formerly possessed

Across the street grows this extremely large holly bush. It’s not the largest I’ve ever seen but it is large and healthy and gives forth an abundant crop of holly berries every year. Ducky hates holly trees for some reason, I’ve no clue, maybe it’s because you can’t eat the berries, or because the leaves are sharp and poinky, or maybe it just gives him something to humbug. I’ve never thought much about it, I tend to use holly only if I’m decorating windows and I haven’t done that in several years. But needless to say across the street a holly bush grows.

While my butt is generally planted in the corner of the sofa - book in nose; I do have my outdoorsy type moments. My father spent the last decade or so of his life enjoying birds. I would buy him birdhouses, binoculars (although he had several pairs already,) and Peterson field guides for both him and myself. Thumbing the pages I always loved discovering the different birds that I found on his property and in my own rural urban (it’s a new zoning code) neighborhood. Varied Thrush, Brown-headed Cowbirds, American Robins, Stellar Jays, Northern Flickers, and woodpeckers galore: Pileated, Latter back, Downy, and Woody. Ha ha. The Chickadees and Nuthatch can keep me watching for hours. But my favorite delight has always been the Evening Grosbeak an amazingly beautiful bird coloured in pistachio, yellows, and black if I’m lucky I get to glimpse them once or twice a year. What I never get to see is the Cedar Wax Wing.

It must have been an old encyclopedia when I was growing up that I first discovered there was such a magnificent bird at the Cedar Wax Wing, even the name had me spellbound. A sleek taupe coloured bird with a peaked crest and white eye lines and yellow tailbar it was beautiful and quite elusive. I knew it was suppose to live on the Oregon Coast but in all my years I’d never had one peak, not one. It was a visit during that Saturday afternoon in early July that my father had told me about how a flock of Cedar Wax Wings had camped in his trees two afternoons. Had he called me? No. In fact my father actually thought the Cedar Wax Wing was nothing special, nothing like his favored Towhees and Mourning Doves that he fed each morning and afternoon. Not even called me, I’d missed out on this elusive bird… again.

Four or five days later I was pulling into the post office parking lot for my monthly trip to collect my mail (yes, I hate picking up my mail but refuse to have it delivered to a puny little unlocked box down the street) when I glanced up at the power wires near the neighboring building. No way! Sitting in two rows along the power lines were at least 20 Cedar Wax Wing. Well, at least that is what the silhouette said as I walked close enough to get a true look they flew off.

Saturday afternoon, during a much deserved break from cementing in flagstone, Ducky and I sat in lawn chairs eating tuna fish sandwiches and talking about our projects and nothing in particular when I caught movement in from the Holly bush across the street. The bush was abounding with Cedar Wax Wings merrily munching on fat red Holly Berries. Now I’m not trusting my eyes as much as I use to, especially for bird watching, so I jumped up and ran into the house to get my binoculars (you know this bush is only across the street – for the last 20 years or so.) Opening the storm door I fell out of the front doorway, the bell hem of my jeans caught on the door jam and I landed on splat Ducky who up until this moment had been blissfully sitting in his lawn chair munching a tuna sandwich.

The birds flew away.

I think it was my maniacal laughter that scared them away. I mean really I was laying in Ducky’s spilt milk howling at the whole mess my fat ass had landed in when the neighbor down the street drove by to watch me fall out the door. BTW, no Duckys were harmed in the event mentioned above.



Steven said...

Ducky's suspicions were right about holly. Someone needs to cut that holly bush down. Glad that you weren't hurt either. Weren't you going to make use of your camera more often? ;-)

Maya said...

And little did those birds know how much chaos they created!

Anonymous said...

One day, one day - those birds will be yours. And you will actually know it is them . . . ;)

Sideon said...

Can't. Breath!



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Cele said...

Steven, the bush isn't that bad, I almost included a picture of it with the blog. But really, I should have made more attention in my remedial walking classes.

Maya, birds are a weakness with me. At least they can fly.

Shiggy, I have actually been blessed to sit and watch them at leisure - thankfully my butt wasn't sitting in a spreading river of spilt milk.

Sid, love the music notes, how did you make them, I don't have them on my html chart.