Date: 6/8/20 5:42 am From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...> Subject: [VTBIRD] June 8, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
5:01 a.m. 41 degrees, wind ESE 0 mph. Three-quarter moon midway above the valley, lit by an unseen sun. Sky: mostly clear; rose-tinted, pastel clouds to the south, small groups of fine lines and snaking tufts; changing by the moment. Tendrils of mist rise straight up from the wetland and pond, muting colors (mostly green); river water inverts above the Ompompanoosuc, hangs at canopy-level, tracing the river into the hinterlands like a long, white serpent.
Red-eyed vireo loud, blue-head hushed. Redstart loud, ovenbird louder. Clipped phrases of hermit thrush; a full spiral from a veery. A hushed pair of chestnut-side warblers, across the road from the male's performance tree, eye-level in an alder foraging for caterpillars. Background vocals: alder flycatcher, pewee, black-throated blue warbler.
For the moment, the world is their oyster: blue jays out of the nest and following parents to feeders, begging; a spot-breasted robin chick trails its father, also begging. Crow family assembles on the railing of the compost pile. Chicks mechanically cluck: longer, faster, and sharper than a treefrog; a rapid, hollow call I don't often hear . . . except in the front yard. Sounds like *tattoo, tattoo, tattoo.*
On the south end of the pond, perched on a broken pine limb, a hairy woodpecker chick patiently (and quietly) watches his father flick pieces of bark off a red pine trunk. Each scrap of bark floats earthward, rides gravity and a breathless breeze, spinning and drifting in slow-motion. Eventually, the adult finds a grub, feeds the chick, his long, thick bill tongue-depressure deep down the chick's throat.
On the eastern ridge, adhering to ancient laws of foodchain etiquette, goshawks fed their own chicks, mostly discontented squirrels. Fledgling woodpeckers, crows, and robins beware your prince darkness waits on the shady side of a clearing, motionless and vigilant, studying the world with a chilly indifference.
Bittern calls; a volley of four and five *ga-lunks*, a pause for fifteen of twenty seconds, and then another volley. Pause. Volley. Pause. Volley. I first noticed this pattern at 3:45 in the morning when the moon cast pale light across the lawn. Still calling, bittern has the stamina of a whippoorwill.
I hear the hum of traffic on State Route 113. I can't say that I missed it.