Date: 5/15/20 5:52 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] May 15, 2020: Thetford Center
5:11 a.m. 50 degrees, NW wind 2 mph. An absence of a down jacket, ski cap,
and winter gloves. Waning moon eclipsed by a blanket of high clouds, corner
to corner, blue-gray, ready to release. Woodland and wetland: viridescent.
Beech leaves unwrapped, tiny, delicate, vibrant. Sugar maple leaves open,
flowers extending. Leafless shadbush, white-petaled, lights up the eastern
rim of the wetland.

Last night, a Wonder World of Warblers? Not quite, not yet. I see one
Nashville; hear four ovenbirds, one black and white, three yellowthroats,
one black-throated green (FOY). A male *myrtle* visits a skirt of sapsucker
holes that ring a maple*. *Sips sap; punctuates meal with a burst of song.
Pissed off woodpecker flies in, screams, the sound a cat might make if you
stepped on its tail. Routs warbler, which vanishes into spring. Sapsucker,
a more or less beaked dowser, goes back to excavating a network of tiny
cavities, rings around the tree; muted taps barely audible from
twenty feet. Before long (I hope), a hummingbird will come to this same
hole, drink sap and eat fresh culled insects that also came for sap;
eventually, to select a personal sapsucker and defend it from interloping
hummingbirds. (Red flowers are in a *very* limited edition in mid-May.)
Hummingbird and sapsucker engage in a one-sided relationship called
*commensalism *that benefits one species while neither helping nor harming
the other—like a coyote catching ground squirrels that exit the back door,
while an oblivious badger, head in hole, bores through the front.

What makes spring so fascinating? I've grown tired of winter, yearn for
pulsing life, for rich color, for warm weather. For voices in the night.
Spring's arrival, though trending earlier and earlier during my lifetime,
is unscheduled, unpredictable, uncompromising. No two are ever the same.
Spring is the hermit thrush, the virtuoso of our seasons, inventive and
breathtaking. I thrive on the variety and surprise, on the urgency of the
season. Spring in Vermont delivers in spades. And I'm stuck at home,
watching.
 
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