After enjoying a much shorter winter, Tom and I are thrilled that Spring is showing her majestic charm so early in the year. Now that we live in Edenton, North Carolina, we spend the majority of our day working in the fresh air. After a winter’s rest, we find the nature’s display waking nothing short of amazing. Here are our first experiences with two Southern nature rituals that have been etched in our minds.
Spawning season is underway for North Carolina’s migratory fish. We were told our basin was a hotspot for river herring, and the rumors did not disappoint. River herring are actually two distinct species, the alewife and the blueback, but the two are so closely related as to be almost indistinguishable. So, the common name river herring is generally used for both. Each female will release an average of 100,000 eggs directly into the water. The fertilized eggs will hatch in three to seven days after spawning, depending on the water temperature.
For several weeks night and day, we heard splashing and jumping and watched herring swim in schools. Our 120′ x 800′ basin has been at the locale for their annual spawning run for years, and they especially love it under the shade of the docks. There are so many, you could dip a net into the water and come up with it full of fish. Who needs television when you have something like this to watch!?!
Late one morning, after spending some time in the garden I heard birds. Not “birds”, but thousands of birds! As I looked up I saw a dark cloud traveling at a good clip, heading towards us. I wondered if what I was witnessing was normal and had a de-ja vu movie moment. You know the movie, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, which was forever imprinted on my younger mind. I briefly considered if this could really happen. Very seriously, I texted our good friends, Kim & James, who have answers to all my birding questions.
They responded right away that I was witnessing the legendary spring migration, an event every birder has on their bucket list. I am sad that I never knew this was an occurrence, and wonder what else I am missing. If you have never seen it, it’s fascinating, do it once in your lifetime. My video is a very small clip of my original and does not do it justice. Driving around town, you would see endless flocks of birds all over farm fields and in the air for days. I am looking forward to next years migration, and will have my nice camera ready.
It’s been a busy week, and I didn’t have time to include anything in our property progress, but no worries I have lots to report in the future. I did want to tell you about two simple wildlife experiences we enjoyed this spring.
I’ll leave you today with a photograph of a rusty old sunken barge that Tom has discovered just off our property. Seems that barges are meant to be part of our lives. One day, he will salvage those massive cleats off of it.
In the past few years, I have learned that we all have so much to live for everyday. Look at simple things in life and find joy! Have an amazing week.