Yesterday I heard them. The penetrating shrill tee-dee-de-de-de, tee-dee-de-de-de. I have been expecting them and it wasn’t long before I spotted their white undercarriage as they took flight from the ground’s camouflage.
The house I purchased two years ago had been vacant and unkept for five years. The side yard a sea of eight foot reedy weeds that made walking impossible, but was perfect for hiding birds’ nests and fawns. Needless to say, with the introduction of a Kubota, the reeds left, a naturally grown lawn emerged and the habitat my winged-friends laid their ground nest in was gone. Still they laid their eggs and without alternatives accepted the challenge; exposed to the elements, the predators, the fear of careless mower driving. Their “broken-wing” act performed too often. Mowing was ceased near their home and a 100 square foot patch allowed the reeds to grow as their guardians, but with so much against them I assumed they would leave, conceding to gentrification, and find new nesting grounds.
Yet, they are back. I can see their hurried gate and abrupt, nervous halting movements. Their long legs and disjointed head bobbing, their questioning hard falsetto “teep. teep. teep.” asking “oh you’re still here?”