Date: 5/20/20 10:53 am From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...> Subject: [VTBIRD] May 20, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center; Part 2
11:27 a.m. Wind SSE, 4 mph. Standing in the middle of the wetland. Blind channels and pockets drying. The shallowest already dry or clogging with gem-green algae, closing in from edge to edge. Behind me, to the northwest, a great pyramid where a palette of greens rise like the tide, upslope to the summit, still reddish-brown with mini oak leaves.
Yellowthroat plays by the rules: wears a mask and self-isolates on an island of sweet gale. I walk to him, slowly, not watching my feet. Sink to my knees in a mote of unconsolidated muck, a bird's way of social-distancing. Safe and sound, yellowthroat keeps on singing. Now, watching a bittern watch me. Birding on an organic trampoline, as out of place in bittern's world as he is in mine.
A pair of solitary sandpipers (FOY), on the their way north, work the edge of the main channel. Trusting and silent. Too busy foraging for aquatic insects and wood frog tadpoles, which hatch in the heat. Within twenty feet. No need for binoculars. Dark back, speckled. White eyering and pale gray-legs legs, the color of aspen catkins. After getting my fill of birds I rarely see, I leave them to probe and pick along the margins of a drying pool, across from an antediluvian turtle, the size of a kitchen sink.
A green frogs hops on folded reeds. A painted turtle slides off a log. A swamp sparrows trills. A hen wood duck flushes; then, a male mallard. I stand for a while, drinking in the early afternoon. My time alone bestowed to me by a pandemic. *When the thumb of fear lifts*, wrote Mary Oliver, mother of wild verse, *we are so alive.*