Date: 5/11/20 6:10 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] May 11, 2020: Thetford Center
5:31 a.m. 38 degrees. Windless. Frostless. Snowless.
Meteorologically speaking, we seem to be trending in the right direction .
. . again. Pale half-moon halfway across Coyote Hollow. Sunlight cascading
down the valley's western flank. The air clear and clean, crystalline,
every tree and twig in sharp relief. Thin, sparse clouds, pink along the
edges. An altogether gorgeous morning. Beech leaves unwrapping; bud scales
peel back, fall off.

White-throated sparrows pair up. Both sexes sing. Blue-headed vireos pair
up. Both sexes don't sing. A wood thrush (FOY) hops from pine branch to
pine branch, caroling, an enchanting, ethereal but static song. As far as
avian troubadours go, I'm a hermit-thrush man all the way. Never quite as
intimate as a robin, when we lived in Hartland, in the 1980s, a wood thrush
was a dooryard nester. This bird, crooning his heart out, is the first wood
thrush I've heard in the Hollow in twenty-three years. Last year, mid-May
2019, a farmhouse in central Ohio, awaiting Jordan's graduation from
Kenyon: a wave of wood thrush put-in during the night; they were everywhere
and full-throated, which emphasized how few I see back home, in Vermont.
Too bad. They're not a wilderness thrush, like Bicknell's or Swainson's,
they're a trusting thrush; when I was a boy, wood thrush nested in the
older, wooded suburbs on Gold Coast, of Long Island. Every trip with my mom
to Sagamore Hill, Theodore Roosevelt's home in Oyster Bay, now a National
Monument, produced a wood thrush. Thought of the morning: What if William
McKinley had not been assassinated and Roosevelt had not become the
twenty-sixth president? Who among the next nineteen would have had the
foresight to preserve from exploitation two hundred thirty million acres of
land, of which fifty-one were designated national bird reservations and
four national game preserves, which eventually and collectively morphed
into the National Wildlife Refuge System? What other president believed
like an Iroquois elder that landscape and wildlife are the birthrights of
the unborn? For seven-and-a-half years Roosevelt kept a list of birds he
saw on the White House grounds. I saw my life wood thrush on his front
lawn.

No mergansers, today. No mallards. Bittern calling, second-part only. Three
common yellowthroats in the alders (FOY). One swamp sparrow in the
reeds (FOY). Both singing.
 
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