Sunday, April 17, 2011

First Thrush

It was a busy week here. I was away for two days for work-related meetings in Maine. While I was away Kodi was diagnosed with Giardia. He had diarrhea and given his fondness for water we were fairly certain of the problem. He's been on five days of treatment -- metronidazole and panacur -- and has mostly recovered, although he could easily become infected again by the little protozoan that attaches to the wall of the small intestine.

All of our favorite haunts have pools, wetlands, and sluggish streams, which are prime sources of Giardia. Beaver are considered a major carrier of Giardia as well as feces of other dogs with Giardia. It is nearly impossible for us to avoid water, beaver, and other dogs. So, Kodi will likely have occasional bouts of Giardia, which does not slow him down in the least.

In bird news, the week started with the first mini migration of warblers. While walking a floodplain forest with a colleague, we spotted a small flock of palm, pine, and yellow-rumped warblers foraging for insects in red maple canopies. Later in the week I saw my first hermit thrush of the year. This is the earliest migrant of the "spotted thrushes," and is easily recognized by its reddish tail that it flicks up and slowly lowers.

Chipping sparrows returned to our neighborhood. Their long, steady trill, bright rufous cap, and plain gray breast are best keys for this common sparrow that likes to hang out in shrubs and trees along our roadsides. While working in the yard this weekend, a first of the year blue-headed (formerly solitary) vireo sang from the pines across the road. Its slow, clear notes -- see you, here I am, see you -- brighten anyone's day.

Speaking of the yard and gardens. We worked hard for two days while the weather was nice. A new pea fence was built and the sugar snap peas planted just before last night's heavy rain and wind. We built one more raised bed of rough hemlock from a local lumberyard. I re-designed my herb garden, with one goal to put the spearmint into a large, buried flower pot to contain its wayward ways.

Leaf buds of many shrubs and small trees have opened and spring colors (which nearly rival fall colors) are beginning to emerge.

Nannyberry, Viburnum lentago

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