Date: 7/26/20 6:16 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] July 26, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
5:26 a.m. 58 degrees, wind NNE 0 mph. Sky: mottled with flat blue-gray; as
the sun rises over the eastern escarpment, a single peach-tinged highlight
gradually infiltrates other clouds, until most buffed with silver. Fog
pockets sit above half dozen marshes, a serpentine ribbon above the East
Branch of the Ompompanoosuc River. Permanent streams: one a whisper; the
other a gurgle. Wetlands: vaguely softened by mist, which vanishes above
the trees. Pond: sans bittern and otter; surface calm and thoughtful, more
haze than ripple; second-year old tadpoles, joining terrestrial ranks,
reenact the 360 million-year-old drama that led eventually to Jonas Salk
and Derek Jeter. Thankfully, not a single deer fly.

Scarlet tanager sings, robustly. I peer high into the oaks, where leaves
hang green and guarded, my view buffered. Tanager plans it this way. But
why? Every feather of raiment—red body worthy of Benjamin Moore set against
wings as black as midnight—needs to be seen to be believed. His pack-a-day
voice draws attention, which is not his best attribute. It's the color,
jungle incarnate, that keeps me looking, keeps my neck frozen, and the dogs

House wren sings a clipped version of his chart-topping hit, hurriedly, as
though late for an appointment. A blue jay flies by with a caterpillar;
calls with its mouth full. Red-eyed vireo, a bird of intemperate song, a
vociferous opponent of the Dog Days, sings with early June enthusiasm.
Everyone else—white-throated sparrow, song sparrow, chickadee, both
nuthatches, catbird, mourning dove, purple finch, phoebe—sings an abridged
song. A yellow-billed cuckoo calls, again, an echo from down the valley . .
. I can get used to this.

One forlorn crow calls into a landscape empty of crows. No answer. I
*caw* back,
trying to make a lonely bird feel at home, black and shiny on a pine limb.
What became of his flock? Like people, crows crave company.
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