Date: 7/12/20 7:52 am
From: Mundi Smithers <amen1farm...>
Subject: Re: [VTBIRD] July 12, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
Apologies, I was attempting to send this to a fellow birder not on this list.

North Pownal

Sent from my iPad

The greatest tragedy in mankind’s entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.
Arthur C Clarke 1917 - 2008

> On Jul 12, 2020, at 10:46 AM, Mundi Smithers <amen1farm...> wrote:
> Sent from my iPad
> The greatest tragedy in mankind’s entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.
> Arthur C Clarke 1917 - 2008
>> On Jul 12, 2020, at 9:17 AM, Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...> wrote:
>> 5:27 a.m. 72 degrees, wind S 10 mph. Sky: gray, overcast, and indecisive;
>> begins in mist, ends in showers; in between alternates drizzle, fog,
>> sprinkle; Gove Hill in hiding. Leaves in motion and every branch hung with
>> rain. Wetlands: mistless, and in sharp relief. Pond: mistook a fist-sized,
>> broken branch for a snapping turtle head. Patches of white ash seeds litter
>> road. Red-flowering raspberry sheds petals, magenta spots on the dark
>> earth. Turn my collar to mosquitos and deer flies, which are everywhere and
>> hungry.
>> DOR: American toad and pickerel frog
>> AOR: Hermit thrush pauses on the shoulder; looks both ways and then flies
>> across.
>> Tanager in full voice in oaks. House wren going off in the pines. Ringing
>> laugh of a pileated. Thrush and veery drawn-out fluty voices enliven dank
>> woods. Only two ovenbirds sing this morning. They've fallen off the sylvan
>> version of this week's *Billboard's Hot 100*, number one spot occupied by
>> red-eyed vireo for the eleventh week in a row. Three more weeks and
>> vireos equal Queen's run with *Bohemian Rhapsody*.
>> Deer prancing through woods above the pond; dogs, eyes riveted and ears up,
>> come to life. Bat behind barn door; the first time in more than a month.
>> Seems to be grooming one shadowy wing, then the other.
>> Yesterday, a friend in Vershire banded five kestrel chicks, ensconced at
>> the bottom of a nestbox. One, recently fed, had several inches of bright
>> red tail sticking out of its mouth, the aftermath of a colorful feast. The
>> tail belonged to a northern red-bellied snake—ventral scales overlapping
>> like shingles—a resplendent little snake, tan above, red below, an eater of
>> slugs and snails, which must have been caught crossing open ground.
>> Regardless of what the scientific literature says, the parent kestrel, the
>> ultimate opportunist, took what was below it, an extended, thin package of
>> protein for a developing chick. I think of kestrels eating grasshoppers,
>> dragonflies, and meadow voles but that's the beauty of natural history . .
>> . just when you think you know something about something, something pops up
>> that surprises you. Expands the possibilities; maybe in a direction, you
>> didn't think possible. Years ago, while watching hawks migrate over Fire
>> Island, a fellow birder told me when he was a boy in the 1920s, he saw a
>> kestrel snatch a smooth green snake on the Hempstead Plains, near Garden
>> City, a disjunct bit of tallgrass prairie now occupied by shopping malls.
>> And, much more recently, I was sent a photograph of a timber rattlesnake
>> out on the limb of an Iowa oak, a sapsucker in its mouth. Who would have
>> thought a rattlesnake would climb a tree and wait for a bird to pass by, a
>> solo analog of *Waiting for Godot*.
>> Natural history: a mutating jigsaw puzzle; every piece joined for a moment;
>> then every piece changes shape to fit another circumstance, and
>> circumstances, endless and pliant, are timeless. To be surrounded by
>> variation . . . an antidote to boredom. The perfect companion for a COVID
>> walk.
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