Date: 5/19/20 5:52 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] May 19, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
5:08 a.m. 39 degrees, wind WNW 1 mph, barely a pulse. Intermittent streams,
more dark slashes than ribbons of water, slow puddly creeps, soon to stop
moving altogether. Ash in bud, dark knobs like knuckles bulge at the end of
twigs; every other tree in leaf. Baby beech leaves, which drooped
yesterday, rise today; close to horizontal. Small patches of tender sugar
maple leaves on the road, a dozen or more per patch. No sign of foul play:
neither holes in the leaves nor chew marks. Some with petioles, some
without. (Spring in its infancy already dropping leaves.) Alders twigs,
where the yellowthroats sing, a band of tiny, purple buttons . . . female

Two veeries (FOY), along the northeast edge of the wetland, their fluty and
descending song, full-bodied and haunting, spirals out of the willows. The
voice of avatars. No way to pass through the valley without pausing for a
veery or any other species of thrush (even a husky-voiced robin). A million
years before Tuvan throat-singers learned to mimic the sounds of the
Russian steppe, a thrush began to harmonize with itself; to produce paired
notes, independently and simultaneously, deep within its voice box.
Poignant and evocative, their voices echo across Coyote Hollow and, for a
moment, render every other sound less significant.

As if to counterpoint the veeries: a white-breasted nuthatch calls from the
pines, a short series of nasal *yanks*, evoking an image of Harpo Marx
honking his toy horn.

A female sapsucker drills her maple, third day in a row. Muffled taps
nearly inaudible. Imbibes sap. Her mate drums a distant tree, a volley of
discordant raps, a territorial proclamation. American redstart (FYO). Male
mallards have the main channel of the wetland to themselves. No geese. No
mergansers. In the background, a guttural red-winged blackbird. A bittern
raising Cain in the northwest corner . . . peepers beware.
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