Date: 7/17/20 5:33 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] July 17, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
5:27 a.m. 58 degrees, wind SSE 5 mph; treetops in motion. Sky: bright,
congested, and without definition (the sort of atmosphere that would
detract from a landscape photograph); low ceiling, a seamless sheet of
clouds that alternates from drizzle to shower, steady and gentle. Permanent
streams: in motion but slowing down. Intermittent streams: on life support;
one a trickle; the other a necklace of puddles. Wetlands: luxuriantly
green, the recipient of seeps, dribbles, flows, and rain. If beaver were
here, there'd be a temporary pond, water from rim to rim, an aqueous crib
for catfish and minnows, and a deafening assemblage of frogs. Pond: the
surface a blend of raindrops and air-gulping tadpoles; pock and rippled, a
mesmerizing sheet of dancing water. Unaccompanied, a bullfrog bellows, the
counterpoint to the soft chips of yellowthroats and song sparrows. The
flowers of Queen Ann's lace and milkweed decorate the treeless berm that
leads up to the pond. Flowers of black-eyed Susan and oxeye daisy wither.

Except for ovenbirds and yellowthroats, most warblers conspicuously hushed
or gone. Red-eyed vireos take time off; *only* two sings. . . as persistent
and repetitive as humidity. A solitary veery calls. A song sparrow starts
to sing; thinks the better of it and stops, abruptly midsong. Two rough
patches of blue jays, family groups, separated by more than half a mile,
ripping around the canopy, effusive and loud. Rowdy. Full-grown chicks beg.
Parents accede their hard-edged, tweezer beaks crammed with living food.

Outside the barn: an ominous cloud of grackles descend on the raspberries.
Arms stretched and shaking at the wrists, I am my own scarecrow.

Inside the barn: no bat behind the door. Fat toad left the water bowl and
moved into the tack room. Seems content. Fills in for Roberto, the missing
cat. I greet the toad. No response.

Through a sieve of raindrops and across the valleys, a red-shouldered hawk
flings its voice, a declaration of undisguised satisfaction. Just when the
world seems stagnant, when heat and humidity clampdown, when mid-summer
melancholy sets in, I'm reminded that forces at work across the calendar
make every day a new adventure. Like fingerprints and iris scans, days are
*not* alike, each one a fine mesh net flung widely and indifferently across
the wrinkled landscape . . . and you never know what you'll receive.
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