This weekend has been picture perfect here on the Cape and I’ve been lucky enough to be outside enjoying it almost all weekend long. Yesterday we headed down Cape for a long meander and while doing so decided to see if the wood lilies were in bloom in Truro.
They were. It took us a while to find them because first I had to remember how to get to Bearberry Hill in Truro. On the way to finding it we found some other wonderful places and to be honest, it was such a lovely summer day we would have been hard pressed not to find wonderful scenery wherever we ended up. Continue reading
This column was published this past week in the Cape Codder and has elicited a huge response from my readers. Since it is not available online I am posting it here.
Nature’s Ways, 6-29-12
By Mary Richmond
Ode to a Catbird
Way back when, in 1964 when I turned 10 to be exact, my grandmother gave me a beautiful hard bound copy of John K. Terres collection called “The Audubon Book of True Nature Stories.” I had read all the Thornton Burgess stories and any other nature stories I could find but this was my first book of “grown up” nature stories and I read it over and over. It was in these pages that I first met Crip, the brown thrasher from “Crip, Come Home!” that revisited Ruth Rowland Thomas’s home each spring and summer. Like her, I fell in love with him. Crip still carries on from my bookcase in spirit though he himself is long gone.
I have been thinking about Crip and the woman who loved him this week for I have my own Crip of sorts. Mine is a gray catbird and to be fair, I have no way to be sure it is the same bird I see each spring but each year for the last seven years a catbird arrives each spring and chases the resident winter mockingbird from its preferred territory and begins to sing. It usually doesn’t take long for him to attract a mate for he has some prime real estate safe in a holly tree, close to a garden and a feeder and a good supply of fresh water. He’s also quite handsome.
There’s something about a catbird that amuses me, perhaps going back to when, as a child, I would hear them “mewing” in the branches just out of reach of our feisty cat. Even as a youngster I knew the bird was taking a risk mocking a cat like that but in most cases the bird prevailed. It would be years before I realized that the catbird was a successful mimic and could sing its own melodic but often confusing song long after dusk began to creep upon the land. Catbirds come by their mimicry honestly, being related to mockingbirds and brown thrashers. Continue reading