a plague of unexpected assistants

two days ago
from the southwest
in small numbers  but steadily
a plague of grackles came flying cackling overhead
and almost simultaneously a rainfall of black walnuts
thudding and plopping down

surely there was a connection between the appearance of the eventual hundreds of grackles
 of whom a great number is called a plague
and the fortuitous fall of the nuts I have been collecting. . . 

they swept through flitting from tree to tree
the long length of the yard   some several hundreds of feet
barely stopping to perch
chattering a constant cacophony of cackle cackle cackle
 accompanied by the plunk thunk crunk
as the nuts hit the ground

I swept up the binoculars
and finally found a few still enough
to observe them pecking at the nuts in the trees

after about 30 minutes they left the area
but later in the afternoon returned
for more of the same

I figured it out:
inside the blackening rotting husks
of the walnuts
are multitudes of squirmy maggots
sometimes clumped in the hundreds

this is what the grackles seek
and prise from the nuts
as they fly by

thank you my gracks
for so speeding up my collection efforts
and for the wonder of the shining black whirl
of your passing through

One comment on “a plague of unexpected assistants

  1. Dave Bonta says:

    Good observation about the grackles! I never thought of the maggot connection, but I’m sure you’re right.

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