March and April 2012

By Patti Muzny

Spring totally sprung upon me this year. One day I used the heater in my vehicle and the next day the air was on.

Our yard suddenly burst into bloom and song.  The Eastern Bluebirds that have stayed in our yard for the past three years began to sing and the female started searching for just the right piece of grass to begin her new home.  My morning coffee on St. Patrick’s Day took me out onto the patio to absorb morning trying to break through the low clouds.  As I lounged on the furniture thinking of nothing in particular and sipping my morning brew, something fluttered above my head and landed on a wire plant stand with a sharp “chirp” and a tail-wagging “Phoebe!”  Whoopee!

On March 18th at our Byars abode, there were several enjoyable sightings.  Brian saw a Little Blue Heron fly-by and I frightened a Woodcock in the woods along the creek.  Fox Sparrows were singing and the first Black and White Warblers are singing in the trees near the cabin.  A Bewick’s Wren was seen scurrying under our truck in search of a choice item of nesting material.  I also heard our first Louisiana Waterthrush.

I know this is mostly a birding story, but along with spring and birding comes the possibility of finding some morels.  You know – those tasty wild things that you have to sneak up on very cautiously, snap their necks and stuff them in your sack?

In 2010, I had only the smallest taste of about a half-dozen dried up, pitiful specimens.  In 2011 the “big drought” eliminated even the hope of finding a dried up one.  Sad!  On March 16, Tim and Sydney found about 20 little bitty ones and they shared with me.  On the 18th, I grabbed my binoculars and a sack and headed for my favorite (top secret) morel hunting ground.  After almost an hour of tripping over greenbriers, downed timber, grapevines and various and assorted additional unpleasant things, I had one scrawny pocket full.  After stopping for a quick lunch, I headed toward another place on the property where I’ve found 3 or 4 in the past.  I found a few in the trail.  Since this area had burned last fall, I didn’t think