I made my usual late afternoon rounds, beginning with the flower beds in the front yard, working my way to the east. A quick check on the bat house revealed the heat was affecting them as several small noses peeked out the edge.
The peonies were done blooming, and I snipped off the last of the faded flowers. The milkweed was coming along nicely, and I anticipated another successful year in what I term my “butterfly nursery.”
The currant that was laden with berries just a few days ago was now nothing but branches and leaves. The birds ate the blooms of the elderberries, so no berries again this year.
As I reached the northwest corner of the yard, I noticed something fuzzy and light grayish in color in the grass. At first glance, I took it to be some small, furry rodent, but as I approached it, I realized the fuzz was actually feathers. There in the grass was a recently fledged chipping sparrow. The big yellow gape around its beak told me the sparrow was still dependent on its parents for food and exhibiting pin feathers revealed this youngster hadn’t been out of the nest very long.
With one more step toward it, a parent bird flew toward me. It swooped past my arm and landed on a nearby branch and proceeded to vocally make me aware that I was much too close to the chick. So my dilemma was: Do I make a run for the house, grab the camera, and run back in time to snap a few photos? Or do I find a comfy spot to sit and watch the little one for awhile?
The photographer in me won out, and I went hurdling toward the house, flung myself inside, grabbed the camera, and made it back to the corner of the yard in mere seconds (well, maybe a couple of minutes).
The youngster was still in the grass. It would pop straight up on its legs and run, then pop back down in the grass. I was losing light, and the parent bird seemed even more agitated at my presence. I snapped off as many frames as I could before the failing light made me decide the family needed a reunion before darkness fell.
I walked slowly back to the house, checking out the rest of the yard, or what I could still see of it. I still could hear the parent bird making its soft chipping calls, no doubt enticing the young one to a safe place for the night.
As darkness enveloped the yard, I thought about the chick and hoped it made it to safety. I looked at the camera and hoped I had captured a decent image of that little fuzz ball in the grass.