Here is part of my meadow. You can see a dead weeping willow tree in the distance.
A close-up of the dead tree. Last year, it was looking pretty bad, and this year, it became obvious that it was a gonner.
Because it is along the road in front of my house, I had just about decided to take it down this year. Maybe I shouldn't. Here's why:
Last week, I heard a Northern Bobwhite calling from somewhere near my house, and didn't have time to track him down. Today, one week later, I heard him again. This time, I had time to search. I would wait to hear a whistled "bob-WHITE" call, then move toward where I thought it was and wait again. Gradually, I crept up on it. When I got near the dead willow tree, I studied the high grass around it. Suddenly, from above my head, I heard him again.
Here he is! Isn't he a handsome brute?
When I got too close, he became restless, and stopped calling. He began making little clucking noises that seemed to be answered by smaller peeping sounds in the grass below the tree. I looked for a minute or two, then walked away. I would love to confirm bobwhites breeding on my property, but if they are there, I don't want to spook them.
Updates to follow.
(MaryAnn, this post's for you.)