Date: 6/26/20 5:25 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] June 26, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
5:01 a.m. 54 degrees, wind NNE 0 mph. Sky: clouds thin and spread horizon
to horizon; a torn fabric separating into lines and sheets and mutating
patches; grapefruit highlights here and there; overripe in the east.
Permanent streams on life support; upper stream a trickle, lower retreats
underground, vanishes like a magic trick. As dawn grades into the sunrise,
wetlands exhale threadlike columns of mist, which quickly dissipate. Mist
on pond going nowhere.

Red-eyed vireos rule the roost; sing the entire walk, ad infinitum;
summer's soundtrack, a simulcast along both sides of the road. Blue-headed
vireos are far more discrete, far less abundant. Distant bluejays bicker. A
pileated announces its territory; jackhammer blows on resonant wood;
reverberates across the wetlands. A veery, possibly in mourning, spins a
tune over the dry streambed. Rocks dumped by a glacier and scrubbed by
rushing water idle in dry shade, listen attentively.

A catbird meows. Yellowthroat calling and feeding in alders. Chestnut-sided
warbler in ash carries a caterpillar. I know these birds. I've seen them
every morning for more than a month. I consider them friends. I don't what
they consider me.

Two hairy woodpeckers: one quietly chips bark off a red pine, while the
other, perched just below on a broken limb, preens, looking more like a
stuffy than a living bird; hunched and round with down, a fuzzy Buddha.
Offers its mother no help. Just waits to be fed, patiently preening. Bits
of bark float out from the tree.

Compelled to check the pond for the otter, hoping it came back. It did not.
Maybe twenty-two more years before our paths cross in the Hollow. To the
east, somewhere on the periphery of the valley, coyotes howl, wild dirges,
haunting and momentary. Gone like the mist into the unseen heart of the
morning.
 
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