Date: 6/24/20 12:33 pm From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...> Subject: [VTBIRD] [SPAM?:*******] - June 24, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
4:02 a.m. 68 degrees, wind SSE 3 mph, air thick rough to slice. Rain imminent (I hope). Sky: dark and brooding, slowly awakening lumen by lumen; in the east, a hot orange glow precedes the sun. A cadre of fireflies: over pasture and pond, through the woods; one wanders around the perimeter of a coltsfoot leaf, others crawl on the ground and the lawn; staggered flashes of cold incandescence, bits of moonlight on the softness of beetles. Species recognized by duration and pattern of repetitive, repeatable blinks. I recognize nothing of their individual identities . . . just the beauty of soft-bodied phosphorescence.
It's an altogether different world when curtains are drawn. Ears like parabolas, dogs gather information; know so much more than I do. First woodland birds singing: ovenbird and red-eyed vireo; both constrained. First wetlands birds singing: yellowthroat and swamp sparrow. A subdued hermit thrush and a pair of veeries set fireflies to music. The pond comes alive: bullfrogs sonorous belches, masculine and off-key; green frogs loose twang, feminine and expressive; plops of unseen frogs retreating from the shoreline. Tadpoles gulp air and leave bubbles.
I haven't heard the bittern in weeks and turkeys have stopped performing; poults, a third the hen's size, already fly. Immature red-shouldered hawks have joined their parents a thousand feet in the sky, inscribing great aerial circles above the wetlands. A female luna moth lies on the stone steps; her gracious green wings and streaming tails a banner of late June, her body empty . . . of everything. Like a battery or a rock n' roller, adult luna moths survive on the charge of youth. No food. No drink. No digestive system. No excretory system. Just a package of eggs or sperm encased in a tube of white pubescence, the most gorgeous moth imaginable. Females inscribe night currents with pheromones; from miles away, males read the message with large, feathery antennae. Luna moth, enormous and gorgeous, a bit player in the high drama of the season.
Summer may have just started but the wheel of season spins more like Dog Days than graduation days.