Creeks draw me in. What is it about following the margin of a lake or stream. It must be some latent genetically coded response to shoreline and riverbank. I just can’t help myself. I see the mouth of a stream and I want to trace the topography of its cascades with my feet. You too?
Well, I suppose you do because one many a riverbank I’ve found shoe prints or worn trails too large for deer or other locals. And it’s not just the terrestrially-tied sorts that abide here, the avian ilk flock here as well. No doubt the water, the riparian edge, and the lush growth rich with invertebrates and other fruits, attracts them.
Solitude-seeking humans are at first captivated by the sight and sound of the clear rushing water but if you can, strain your ears to hear past the sound of the stream, and the chirping tones of the Western Tanager arise. The tanager’s bright yellow and orange plumage make it easy to spot amid the myriad greens of the canopy. They’re here hunting insects, flying over the water, catching prey in mid-air, then gently landing on that branch just out of reach, above your head. Before you can blink, they’re off again, settling on a branch on the other bank, then back again. Your jaw drops ajar as you try to comprehend the color of the bird contrasting with the foliage.
Like you, they’ve come here instinctively. Like you, this place feeds them: body and soul, respectively.