It’s funny what a change of a hundred feet can do to a view. For almost 20 years we have lived on this property. For all but the last few months though, we were living up under the oaks with open field between the front “woods” and the back woods. When we began to plan for our new house we situated it behind the existing structures, just out of the front “woods” and on the edge of the field.
Sitting up under the trees for all of those years we were sheltered from the extremes. Since almost all of the trees are oaks, they tend to hold their leaves late into winter. So even the coldest nights didn’t quite seem so cold under their protecting cover. But that same protecting cover kept the sky from view and limited the wildlife I saw from my main window. Whenever we wanted to see what weather was coming our way we would have to wander out into the field to see the storms that generally blow in from the north.
Now, sitting at my desk by the front window, I face north into that covered space. From this perspective though, it’s more as if I am looking into a large open room with wooden beams arching overhead. Even now, at the end of January, the ceiling out my window is mostly green with patches of clear blue sky shining through. So I spend my days at this desk watching woodpeckers flit about, mourning doves cooing in the pecan just out of site, Carolina wrens singing in the bare crepe myrtle tree, robins and jays and blackbirds by the dozens settling in on the ground.
But, when I get up from the desk and wander into the kitchen for a cup of coffee…That is when the change in perspective really pops in to focus. The wall of windows facing the field and the woods out back bring in a constant, changing view of clouds and sky and birds that I never realized was here. Two constant occupants of the bar are my binoculars and the Sibley Guide to Birds.
In the past couple of weeks I identified a score of bird species that probably have always been here at this time of year, but, never impinged upon my awareness being well over a hundred yards away. I mean, I never even heard of a yellow-rumped warbler, but it seems that most of what I thought was just sparrows over the years way up in the upper branches of the trees above my head were just that. And cedar waxwings…Did you know that they can hide among robin at the edge of the woods and if you didn’t take the time to sit and study them through glasses you wouldn’t know they were there. Northern flickers, Carolina wrens, female red-winged blackbirds…All have visited this space this week. I don’t even try to count the hundreds of robins and blackbirds or the hawks and buzzards that patrol the upper sky.
The change in perspective has reinvigorated that love of bird watching that I have toyed with off and on over the years…Now if I can just coax some of them to pose for my camera…