Almost-Summer Walk

Trying to elevate our perspective yesterday when the day darkened (yay!) and the wind picked up, Bear and I headed out for a walk.

Summer IS beautiful in its way. The storms swirling around the San Luis Valley made the mountains change their aspect every few minutes. On the way to the Refuge I saw the fallow pastures were filled with wild iris.

Wild Iris

There aren’t many animals (visible) out there now. Some of the beings who hang around most of the year are singing their hearts out — blackbirds. The best animal story was a mother coot and her lone duckling. Mom was foraging like crazy and the baby was hanging close. I thought of the whole reality of nature and of all the eggs she’s probably laid and how there was only one surviving hatchling. Then I saw another. For a moment I thought about the quiet way these creatures address loss. “This is what I have. Isn’t is precious?” not “Oh my god, I’ve lost four eggs out of six! What’s the point of going on?” You can’t see them, but the featured photo was supposed to be a picture of the coot and her ducklings which, I have learned, are actually called “cooties.”

Doing research into what baby coots are called, I learned about the “nurturing” habits of the coot and was momentarily horrified:

“Chick mortality occurs mainly due to starvation rather than predation as coots have difficulty feeding a large family of hatchlings on the tiny shrimp and insects that they collect. Many chicks die in the first 10 days after hatching, when they are most dependent on adults for food. Coots can be very brutal to their own young under pressure such as the lack of food, and after about three days they start attacking their own chicks when they beg for food. After a short while, these attacks concentrate on the weaker chicks, who eventually give up begging and die. The coot may eventually raise only two or three out of nine hatchlings.In this attacking behaviour, the parents are said to “tousle” their young. This can result in the death of the chick.” Source

Which is WHY watching nature documentaries WON’T cheer you up.

A car drove by, and the people in it waved with all their hearts. ❤ ❤

Yesterday was the first day I’ve felt like myself in more than a year. So far so good today. 🙂


Yesterday a reader asked me how to get a copy of my new book, Finding Refuge. It is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B096LTVBS7. Please don’t order a copy from Amazon until Wednesday morning Western Hemisphere time. Although I had gone over the content very carefully more than once, yesterday I decided to quietly just READ it. I made some edits that I think matter.

If you are someone who doesn’t like Amazon, you can order from me. It will be $15 including postage. I imagine at some point soon I will be putting it up on Kindle, but without illustrations.

20 thoughts on “Almost-Summer Walk

  1. Another blogger also wrote about the ‘nurturing’ habits of baby birds. There had been 3 hatchlings, then 2. Of course, I few of us inquired about the missing chick. We should not have asked…

  2. At the moment the BBC TV run a programme every day called “Spring Watch”. It covers various wild life areas of the British Isles and in one part they highlight about six different nests with the parents and hatchlings. You see from day to day how the situation changes. Each bird has its story to tell, but this programme shows me what you are seeing in reality and how wonderful it is. They show that some mothers even share a nest with about 12 baby birds in it.

    • I watch these shows and either cover my eyes or wind up yelling at the photographer: “You’re right there!! Make them stop!!!” I don’t do well with those shows…

      • last year when I thought nature documentaries would be a good way to divert myself from the pandemic (ha ha ha ha) I ended up hating the photographers for thinking the harsh bits were somehow an interesting focal point. “Hey look how cool we are! We got to see a mother moose abandon her calf to wolves! Aren’t we the shit?” Then I realized that seeing it over and over was probably not healthy for me… 😀

  3. You pinpoint the exact reason why I don’t watch nature documentaries, Martha. For nature really is red in tooth and claw, and it can be a bit too red and raw for sensitive souls like us. Those poor chicks though, it does go against all one would expect from nurturing parents, doesn’t it? That does look to have been a beautiful and walk though, and what a lovely view. 🙂

    • I know there’s no malice in the coots’ behavior, and it’s probably a necessary evolutionary adaptation, but it’s still harsh. It was a beautiful walk and in spite of HOW that coot mom ended up with two babies, she was taking good care of them. It’s hard to say whether it’s harsher to lose one’s eggs to foxes and coyotes or take control of that ones self. ❤

      • It’s occurred to me that it’s a good job we don’t behave like that. My poor autistic lad would have been left out to die a long time ago. At least the coot mother was looking after the remaining ones. ❤ Hope you get lots of other lovely walks in like that in the better weather. I’ve always said walking is one of the best forms of exercise. 🙂

  4. We had a day of “June gloom” today. It was marvelous! We usually have quite a few of these days in May and June where the cool moist air off the oceans flows onto land overnight leaving us overcast and cool until the sun burns it off the next day but this year very few.

    There’s a mourning dove nesting in a box full of hose attachments on a shelf in our patio. Probably the safest place she could find. I emptied out the rest of the shelf and put a cup of wild bird seed up there for her. She stayed perfectly still while I’m doing it. If she doesn’t move maybe I won’t notice her.

    I haven’t seen daddy around. Either he got eaten by a cat or maybe they don’t help real the chicks. I do hear a mourning dove calling but I don’t know if it is him or another one.

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