Friday, April 1, 2011
After a long winter of quiet, I'm very pleased to hear the first soothing notes of a mountain blue bird. If you haven't seen one, they are the bluest of blues. Perfect match for our skies. The skwala stone flies have emerged, and are all over the shore rocks. Blue birds often feed on the wing, but the skwalas are a serious meal and worth a foot chase on the ground. Standing in the water floating my skwala dry fly to a gulping fish, I watch the enthusiasm of a blue bird from two feet away. The skwalas must taste good. I counted about 15 consumed in 15 minutes. Just the snack for a bird that flew many miles to nest near this stream. One day the area seems almost devoid of birds. The next, all my feathered friends have returned. Robins, Stellar Jays, Pygmy Nut hatches, Nut hatches, Flickers, and Alder gnatcatchers too. Funny how the weather improves, bugs reappear, and, suddenly there are birds. Every winter, I hang with American Dippers. They are one of the few birds that remain to keep us company fishing all winter. Now they're acting amorous, and playing tag. Even though they mate for life, every spring I watch them reestablish the pair bond. It takes three to tango in a dipper's world. Another male hangs around flirting and posturing and singing. This makes the mated male crazy with "jealousy"? Soon the pair will make a nest in a frothy section of the river. Spray drenched babies will grow to become my neighbors. Wading for fish, I will peak in to see how things go for them. This seasonal change of players announces that fishing season has also begun. The water warms, fish feel better moving to food, and I feel better asking them play.