When we were first designing our new home, our architect had sketched in a screened-in porch. I distinctly remember at the time, asking if this was necessary. The architect gave me a very patient look and replied, “this is Maine. We have mosquitoes and black flies here.” He made his point and we added the porch. Over time, friends and relatives have predicted that I would spend a great deal of time in this sanctuary. I hoped they were correct.
Now, as the construction phase has drawn to a close, we are very close to making the final move. During a recent visit, I discovered the accuracy of our architect’s statement. There is standing water everywhere! In the culverts, numerous vernal ponds and in the dip that was graded into our backyard! I do believe that the mosquito is the state bird. Yes, I thought, I will derive great pleasure from my little observatory.
We arrived in Maine late in the afternoon, after a long drive from New York. I just wanted to enjoy the wooded view from my porch and relax. I wasn’t there long, before a bird started hovering outside the screen right at eye level. This bird was clearly agitated but I did not know why. When my husband appeared, I mentioned this odd behavior to him. He looked above the door leading to the outside world and commented that there was a nest just above the door. I had been anticipating the pleasure that everyone claimed I would have from my porch and I was being usurped by a previous owner. I couldn’t believe it! I retreated back into the house, grumbling that I would not be able use MY porch for the week that we were there.
Once I got over my disappointment, I discovered that we had a clear view of the nest from the mudroom. As we went about our chores, we would stop from time to time to check on the status of this new family. Papa would sit on the roof of the garage, ready to defend his family at the slightest movement. Mama sat on the nest for several days before the activity increased. It wasn’t long before she was flying back and forth feeding her three hungry offspring. From our vantage point, we were able to spot their little beaks poking up waiting for food. Next year, with the daily movement in the house I am sure this couple will find another place to nest but for now it was a wonderful experience to have a front row seat to this gift of nature.