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.
 
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