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.