A lone junco forages in the driveway. (Sick? A pariah?) The labored flaps of a pileated woodpecker coming in low over the yard.
Snow falling in large, wet clusters: I watch the woods whiten. Small clouds of powder in a multiflora rosebush as snowbirds dart in and out.
A squirrel leaps through the snow-laden lilac up by the other house, chasing the juncos. Their high, tinny alarm-calls sound like laughter.
Cold and overcast. A grooming cardinal reaches under his wings, dining on lice. Juncos peck grit from the road to replenish their gizzards.
Juncos in the stream, juncos in the barberry bushes, juncos on the driveway, juncos in the lilac. Junco tracks in the snow beside my chair.
Snow-ghosts arise and sail a couple dozen yards before the wind rips them apart. Juncos flock to dip their beaks in the stream’s dark water.
A low drone of traffic from over the ridge. Half-blinded by the sun, I see the backlit wings of small birds as sudden flowers opening.
Unseasonably warm. A raucous flock of juncos courses back and forth behind the house. Squirrels chase at top speed on the forest floor.
Five golden-crowned kinglets forage in the crown of a birch. In a nearby barberry, a junco ticks sporadically like an uncommitted clock.
The first bright sun since the leaves came down. I’m dazzled by the hillside of gleaming laurel interspersed with white flashes—junco wings.
A vulture rocks in the wind above the ridge. Juncos and white-throated sparrows flit into the lilac by twos and threes, chirp and fly out.
A series of loud sneezes from the dead goldenrod at the woods’ edge where a deer must be bedded down. A junco forages in the stiltgrass.
The dark-eyed juncos flock to the two dark wounds in all this white: the plowed road’s bare stone and the thin, quiet trickle of a stream.
At the bend of the road where the trail enters the woods, a flock of juncos chittering and picking small stones for their crops.
Soggy woods under a gray sky. In the multiflora rose bush, a junco’s tail keeps flashing white as it struggles for a perch among the thorns.
White above, gray below—the reverse of the juncos foraging in the ditch among sedges, tear-thumb and asters, calling in small hard notes.