Spring’s Blue Ribbon

At 6000 feet, spring does not necessarily arrive in accordance with meteorological or astronomical predictions. It does not appear suddenly, but approaches stealthily. A green shoot here, a pink blossom there, an emerald sheen on the lawn, emerging tree buds that suffuse aspens in a hue of red, and cottonwoods in a tinge of gold.

The residual snow on north-facing slopes or in the shade of a rock or tree is coarse and crunches under foot. It lingers until the lengthening days and the increasing angle of the sun succeed in melting these last vestiges of winter.

Migratory birds commence their journey to their summer breeding grounds. Apart from flora’s cheery colors and contagious vitality, the avian presence, vivacity, and music-making contribute to make this coming one my favorite season.

I have already celebrated the return of the robins and their lovely voices in a previous post. Only last week I saw my first Say’s Phoebe, back from its wintering grounds in Mexico. This flycatcher of the dry country perches on fences, frequently dips its tail, and dives for insects.

Say’s Phoebe (Sayornis saya)

A flying sapphire whose return from southern climes also has come to signify spring is the ethereal Mountain Bluebird. Unlike other members of the thrush family, it prefers open meadows and alights on the top of bushes, trees, or power lines. During its hunt for insects, it appears like a cerulean flash through one’s field of vision.

Male Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides)

Female Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides)

The German romantic poet Eduard Mörike might not have realized it, but in my mind this avian jewel represents the blue ribbon of his 1828 poem (my apologies to Mr. Mörike for my translation):

Springtime lets her ribbon blue

Flutter through the air again.

Sweet, familiar scents

Sweep across the land.

Violets dream already,

Dream of their emergence.

-Hark, a soft sound, harp-like, from afar.

Yes, it is you, spring.

I have perceived you.

Wishing all of us a beautiful spring (with apologies to my friends in the Southern Hemisphere where summer is now ending).

Click here for the German version/klicken Sie bitte hier für die deutsche Version:


32 thoughts on “Spring’s Blue Ribbon

  1. Tanja, I can hardly believe the cold and snowy weather my region (greater Philadelphia) has had this March.
    Right now a big storm is making its way in. Lots of snow is predicted for the next three days.
    My snow shovel is ready to do some more work.

    Bye for now —


    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ein schöner Beitrag mit so schönen Bildern! Die Vögel sind mal wieder allerliebst. Dieser zarte blaue Vogel ist ja fantastisch. Toll, was für eine wunderbare Vielfalt es doch gibt. Ja, wir warten alle auf den Frühling. Immerhin hat die Sonne hier, zwischen dem fiesen eiskalten Ostwind, schon etwas mehr gewärmt als üblich. Dir auch einen baldigen warmen Frühlingsanfang. LG, Almuth

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That male Mountain Bluebird is a really stunner and stands out vividly in the grass. What a wonderful sight to welcome Spring.

    Spring is one of my 2 favourite seasons. The other is Autumn and while we don’t get Autumn colour on our native species, there’s enough non-indigenous species imported and from the early Colonial times to give us some great colour in the leaves. Once we get over the recent bushfires, we’ll welcome Autumn with enthusiasm Down Under.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Yes, I love the male Mountain Bluebird too; and the blue sky is so uniformly blue – I was amazed! Here in Gore, the south of the South Island, its been raining ALL day much to my disappointment. It was a tonic to see your photos! And thanks for thinking of us poor unfortunates who are soon to head into winter.

    Liked by 2 people

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