Heralds of Spring

April is unpredictable. One day we have warm, sunny weather, the next there would be flurries. But the creek and pond have mostly melted. A new sound I heard a few weeks ago when I was walking by a stream, something I had never encountered before. The sound of melting: the cracking of ice, like a small firecracker had gone off.

But this is the true herald. When I saw the first robin, I knew Spring had arrived. There were many of them during my walk last week, turning the woods into a convivial nesting playground.

And up in the sky, a red-tailed hawk flew by. Sunlight seeping through its feathers:

At the bird sanctuary, the wood ducks are back, brightening up a cold morning:

But here’s what made my day: my first time sighting a Hooded Merganser. This is rare in our locale. From their range map, they’re only passing through during migration.

I often think of the female Common Merganser as having hair like Lucille Ball’s. I’ve found another celeb look-alike… the male Hooded Merganser’s hair sure has an Elvis look:

As for the female, I always find them to be more playful than the male, both the Common and now as I observed the Hooded one. Wish I’d taken a video to share. She was splashing and calling out in exuberance, while Elvis glanced back in nonchalant coolness:

Sure, shake your sillies out… Spring has sprung!


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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

16 thoughts on “Heralds of Spring”

  1. Oh, I needed to see this! I love the mergansers. They’re my favorite and I don’t see them often. And that shot of the hawk in flight with the sun through the feathers — glorious! Yes, spring is coming to your world!


    1. Looks like you have a better chance of sighting the Hooded Mergansers than I. (Click on the Range Map link.) And, don’t you like that Elvis hairdo? 🙂


  2. Love the Elvis merganser! That made me laugh. I am glad to hear spring is well underway there. It is here too but like you said, it’s changeable, we got a dusting of snow last night. Our robins returned a few weeks ago and I even saw some this winter that never left. I bike by a water drainage pond every morning and it is playing host right now to nesting birds: a pair of Canada geese, at least one pair of mallards, maybe two, and about half a dozen redwing blackbirds. The blackbirds are marvelous singers and for the last two weeks have been serenading me as I ride by.

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    1. Stefanie, isn’t that hooded merganser fun? I almost laughed when I saw it too. And how the female having so much fun splashing around while he just watches. Robins and Canada geese are common here and they’ve come back. I still haven’t seen the redwing balckbirds yet. Glad you have a chance to bike through some natural environs… and every day too. Just wonderful!

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  3. I get excited when the first robin appears in our yard. You took some great photos of these winged creatures. Love the ones of the hawk. Now ice cracking is not a noise that I’ve been around much. Enjoy the rest of the week.

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    1. Ellen, this is the first time I heard ice crack on their own as they melt. Quite an interesting experience. I’m sure you’re having lots of migratory birds coming your way. Enjoy your spring!


    1. Yes I can imagine. We’re having above season average temps. right now. And it’s (almost) always sunny so that brightens things up, despite the fact that we’re in the midst of a very serious third wave of Covid.


  4. The sound of ice cracking in spring was a familiar one in my midwestern springs: that, and the slow dripdripdrip of melting icicles. I just loved seeing the robins. They were completely gone from here about a month ago, and I miss them — but I’m glad to share them with you!

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  5. Lovely post Arti. Your April is like our October. Just when we think it’s going to be warm, we get a blast of cold from the mountains south of us. We rarely get snow in Canberra, but one of the months we have had has been October. Very rarely, in my memory, in the real winter months!


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