The weather has been absolutely amazing we've spent a lot of time enjoying it outdoors. We haven't been the only ones enjoying the weather. The purple martins have returned from their winter migration and meadowlarks have been filling the pasture air with their songs. Turkeys have even been spotted in the hay field.
A couple weekends ago we were invaded by a very large flock of red winged blackbirds. The first hint of their presence was from their non-stop racket as they grouped together in the trees around the property. Now, I'm no expert on red winged blackbirds, but it's fairly easy to distinguish the males from the females - and there were lots of them! And, guessing by their noises, they are likely in the heat of their mating season.
We watched them throughout the day as they roosted in large groups and then, without notice, would take to the air. I've always enjoyed watching large groups of small birds as they zig and zag through the sky, turning on a dime and these blackbirds put on quite a show. Often, they landed in the hayfield, completely disappearing into the knee high grass. You wouldn't even know they were there if you hadn't just seen them. Then, they'd reappear as if the hayfield was spitting them out into the sky. It was really cool to see.
I tried several times to capture an image of a large group as they flew together, but I never caught an image that really gave justice to what it was like in real time. I finally saw a group land on the the fence, framed a shot, and snapped the shutter before they were back in the air.
This other picture is a simple click that I have to credit my wife for bringing to my attention. She had let our chickens out to roam the yard and they made their way to the front flower bed. They LOVE the flower beds and will spend as much time as possible digging dusting "bowls" and then laying in them throwing dirt on themselves. I really wish I could have witnessed the scene leading to this photograph. The sidewalk leading to our front door shares a boundary with the flower bed, so apparently one chicken was standing on the sidewalk while another tossed some dirt. What was left were these perfect chicken tracks.