Date: 12/26/20 8:46 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] December 26, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
7:46 a.m. 30 degrees (twenty-five degrees colder than yesterday), wind SE
11 mph. Sky: cloud-speckled, perpetual motion, baby blue in between.
Flurries, so few I begin to count them . . . eleven, twelve, thirteen—more
webworm nests in the cherry than flakes in the air. Permanent streams:
brim-full and ice-free, babbling and churning, in a hurry to reach the
marsh. Intermittent streams: flow and hum with a false feeling of
durability, provisioned by two-inches of rain and two-feet of melted snow.
Wetlands: sprawling water, if October, I'd look for ducks. Pond: stream
continues to chew an oblong opening in the surface, now twenty-feet long,
more than four-feet wide. Ice thins and lightens along the shoreline. Five
neat round otter holes, all on the northern half. Each hole sports a
branching avenue of open water like an *old* version of a phylogenic tree,
several paired and splayed like caribou antlers.

A red squirrel runs across the road, up a pine, chatters nonstop. First
visible or audible squirrel since two feet of snow fell on the 17th. Snow
has nearly gone (even in the woods), washed away, melted. Blue jay drinks
from a gulley, a clear, whispering flow. Stands on the rim of the road,
bows down (almost a curtsy), scoops water into its lower bill, a ladle of
sorts. Leans back. Swallows. Repeats and repeats again. Then, joins the
feeder crowd.

Gray squirrels back (with a vengeance). Ernie, the Hungarian partridge,
overcomes the squirrel obstacle (again) to eat breakfast. From suet to
sunflower seeds: nuthatches (one red, three white), chickadees, jays,
titmice, and two hairy woodpeckers. Unlike me, with all the snow gone,
turkeys have an astronomical number of dining-out choices. The forest,
again, transformed into an auspicious cafeteria. I have but one choice . .
. the lure of the kitchen, and it's well-stock with Christmas cookies.
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