Clear and cold, though still no first frost. In the garden, the lily-of-the-valley berries have dulled over like the hearts of dead moles. * This will be the last report […]

A field sparrow forages in the seed heads of goldenrod inches from the porch, eye a black stone set in a white ring, keeping me in sight.

Now that the walnuts have all fallen, a squirrel deigns to pick one off the ground. The dogwood beside the stream pullulates with sparrows.

Flocks of geese fly low overhead, one after another, their cries echoing off the ridges. A red-bellied woodpecker scolds from a locust tree.

Wind tosses the leaves that last night were glistening in the moonlight. A blue jay does its red-tailed hawk imitation, but nobody’s fooled.

Cloudy and cold. A caterpillar climbs my leg, its brown form so extravagantly furred it resembles a miniature, misplaced fashion accessory.

When a squirrel sounds the hawk alarm, a sparrow on a branch freezes so well that soon even I am convinced it’s part of the tree.

Overcast at dawn. The light seems to come not from the sky but from the slowly brightening orange and yellow leaves. Chirps of waking birds.

At 8:30 in the morning it’s still warm, but I hear the cold front coming: the hissing grass, the shuffling leaves, the hoarse cries of jays.

Overcast and still. The hollow thumps of a pileated woodpecker foraging for breakfast. Walnuts fall on the back roof with an alarming crash.

Another foggy morning. Beneath the orange leaves of the witch hazel in my garden, yellow blossoms are beginning to let down their wild hair.

A blue-headed vireo on migration sings out of habit, perched near the top of the lilac. The free jazz of non-migrating geese—their ragged V.

It’s cloudy, but the forest understorey glows with autumn color. A phoebe hawks flies from the spicebush, gurgling with satisfaction.

A high-speed chase through the yard—one Cooper’s hawk tailing another. Woodpecker pandemonium. High above, a jet leaves two blank lines.