Date: 5/16/20 5:11 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] May 16, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
5:25 a.m. 50 degrees, NW wind 4 mph. Saturated atmosphere: cloud
ceiling thicker than cloud cellar, an extensive canopy of moisture born of
the sky touching the earth, like a jungle sunrise without the sun. Mount
Ascutney screened by mist. What's left of the moon remains hidden behind
the eastern hills, the sun (somewhere) passes by.

Last night: not ideal migration conditions. Warblers like paper airplanes
do better with a tailwind, stay aloft longer, cover more ground,
expend less energy. Thus far, 2020 spring migration in Coyote Hollow: more
spillout than fallout; more dribble than spate; more whisper than shout.
Today's warbler roster: black-throated green; black and white; northern
parula (FOY); yellowthroat; ovenbird (three); yellow; blackburnian (FOY),
and Nashville. Real fallout: May 16, 2016, Magee Marsh, south shore of Lake
Erie, western, Ohio: Jordan and I overwhelmed by nineteen species of
warblers, many eye-level and arm's lengths, idled on wooden railings and
benches, flitting through shrubs. Exhausted warblers. Hungry warblers.
Arriving at warp speed. Some so close we took their portraits with
cellphones. Waves of bay-breasted and Cape May warblers, birds I don't
often see in Vermont. Dozens of hooded and prothonotary warblers, birds I
never see in Vermont. There were birds beyond counting. Joyous and
bewildered, we just looked and looked . . . The fallout also included
rock-star birders, Victor Emanuel and Kenn Kaufman, among them, both of
whom we also checked out.

A migratory event not to be repeated in Coyote Hollow today, however.
Stereophonic walk: south of me, bittern calls from the reeds; north of me,
turkeys gobble in the oaks. In between: a wood thrush sings (perhaps he'll
stay); two winter wrens, songs somewhat subdued. A Nashville warbler sings
and probes new leaves high in a cherry tree, breakfast table cum stage,
wandering between old webworm webs, which hang like frayed socks. His
two-part song enriches my walk. Pairs of chickadees heedless of
social-distancing, forage too close. Blackburnian warbler song seeps out
from a veil of hemlock branches. Who needs AARP's weekly invitation to have
my hearing tested . . . I can still hear blackburnian high notes, the
tinkling of distant chimes. More whisperer than crooner.
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