The minute the calendar went from April to May, I felt it. I knew it was going to be a hard month for us. My mother passed away January 3, it has been a tough road and will continue to be. Mother’s Day and her birthday were right around the corner. I know she is no longer suffering and in a better place. That gives me a bit of peace, and I know it should give me more. I guess I am selfish and want her with me.
There have been days where I hear or see something and pick up the phone to call her to tell her about it, only to stop myself realizing I can’t. Now that Spring has arrived, I see yellow roses, her favorite. Last week was brutal. I passed by the Mother’s Day card aisles in the stores and I couldn’t even look at them without getting teary-eyed. I’ve seen Mother’s Day commercials, and had to turn the channel, me being the blubbering fool. I got really angry with people complaining about their mothers and give them a piece of my mind. Whereas just a few short months ago, I was one of them. Last night I took her old sweater and wrapped it around me and cried myself to sleep.
It has been rough for me and my sidekick to say the least. And from what I hear, my sister is also having a hard time. We would text each other blubbering gibberish. Our moods fitting, as we snapped at each other on text a couple times over stupid things. My dad pretty much doesn’t know what to do with himself these days. I’ve even thought about taking him out to the refuge with us for the drive. Maybe soon.
So on the advice of family and friends, I took the day and made it about me. What??!! How dare I be a mother on Mother’s Day! We reminisced about Mom and remembered the good times. All we have now are memories, and nothing is going to change that. Learning to accept the things I cannot change has been a big struggle for me, but in the past couple years I have come a long way in that regard.
I told my sidekick this weekend was about me. And her. Afterall, it is because of her that I AM a mother. The only thing my ex gave me worth holding on to, and I will treasure her forever. So I made plans to stay busy doing what we like doing best, and hopefully make the best of this dreaded Mother’s Day weekend.
Friday was a splendid day weather-wise. During my lunch break, I took a little stroll through my favorite park for birding in the Spring. I pulled up and instantly heard several songbirds singing and I immediately wished I didn’t have to go back to work. I heard and saw a cardinal, several Yellow Rumped Warblers, etc. I walked the trail and several small Downy and Hair Woodpeckers were flitting about here and there. Sandhill Cranes were calling in the distance and I knew I had to bring my sidekick back in the evening, as they are her favorites. I have only been bird watching for a couple of years now, not nearly long enough to identify birds by their song. Some yes, most no. I once read that Minnesota is one of the top 5 states for birding, as we get well over 300 species during migration in Spring and Fall. Maybe by the time I retire I will know most of their songs.
As I walked the path hoping to see a new warbler or a Baltimore Oriole, First of Year (FOY) for me, I stopped suddenly as I heard a Rose Breasted Grosbeak. I love these beautiful birds. They sound like Robins on steroids, LOL. At any rate, I first heard, then saw the female. The male was not too far behind. I was so excited, as this was indeed FOY for me. I kept walking, and saw an Eastern Bluebird, sparrows (there are so many species it is so hard to differentiate which one), the usual suspects around here. Canada Geese nesting finally, a male Wood Duck. I always end up dilly dallying and my lunch hour goes so fast.
I got about halfway around the trail and realized it was time to start back. I turned around and headed back, only to be stopped again by the female Rose Breasted Grosbeak. However, this time I saw some nesting material in her mouth and followed her with my eyes to see where she may go. Low and behold she flew about 10 feet off the path into a nest. No eggs yet, but I was so excited, what a find for me! The male came and sat above me on a branch checking me out. With our very late Spring and cold weather, we are just starting to get buds on the trees so she is very visible from the path. My first thought was that I really hope the buds and trees come in fast so more passersby don’t interfere with the nest. I got a few shots in, not too many, as they are very skittish birds.
My sidekick and I returned that evening after dinner. We saw the nest, but no sign of the birds. I am hoping to keep track and monitor the nest for babies, but then I will be very sad if something happens to them. Nature at it’s finest, I guess. Taking the good with the bad.
Saturday morning we had plans to attend the Spring Celebration at the refuge, as it was Migratory Bird Day. We got up at 5:30 (yes, on a Saturdaymorning, much to my teenager’s chagrin). It was 34 degrees, cloudy, windy and very cold. We had signed up for the birding tour which was from 7:00 to 11:00 am. The first part of the tour was a caravan around the refuge on a couple of the DNR roads which are not usually open to the public. The chilly, windy weather made it hard, as the birds were not out and about. We saw some shorebirds, including, Lesser Yellow Legs, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper. Several Blue Winged Teal, Trumpeter Swans, Sandhill Cranes, and a couple of Bald Eagles.
The hearty people of the bunch decided at 9:00 to go on one of the trails hiking. My crabby, tired, cold teenager was not so eager. So we just went on the wildlife drive, saw several birds, highlights were an American Kestrel and a Ruby Crowned Kinglet, nothing too out of the ordinary. The wind was blowing so hard I had to keep the windows up in my vehicle and the sand was flying all over we couldn’t see anything, so we headed out.
The refuge headquarters was having a plant sale, so we stopped there on our way home. I always like to see what birds are at their feeders, I had been hearing good things. However, the wind always plays a factor and there wasn’t too much next to the Red Winged Blackbirds and White Breasted Nuthatch. BUT, we did scare up this guy digging around on the ground eating up the bird seed dropped by the birds. The workers at the refuge tried sending him home with me, LOL.
On Sunday morning, Mother’s Day, we had every intention of hitting two parks and walking some trails. However, the early morning on Saturday did us in and we slept in on Sunday. I also had a couple of meltdowns over my own mom, but wanted to concentrate on new memories and traditions with my daughter. By the time we headed out of the house it was after noon. We headed to a Nature Center in a suburb of the Twin Cities. They had some great birds at their feeders and had some nice walking trails. Saw my FOY Baltimore Orioles, they do have a lovely sound. We saw a number of birds, and some Canada Geese nesting, which was also a FOY for us because of the late Spring. Toward the end, my back was giving out with all the walking, so we decided to call it a day.
All in all, not many photos for the week but lots of birds seen and heard finally after such a rough Spring. Just not close enough for photos.
Hope everyone has a fabulous week!