The caution of wild things. Male and female cardinal taking turns bathing in the stream. The chipmunk rising furtively to its hind legs.
Cool and clear; mist rising off the trees. From around the corner of the house, the zoom and chatter of a hummingbird’s courtship flight.
It’s not too hot to fight: a robin drives a chipmunk from the lilac. A minute later, a flicker drives a downy woodpecker off its den tree.
Hot and humid. A lone 17-year cicada’s uncanny call. Where last night a drunk intruder stumbled in the weeds, a cloud of gnats, hovering.
At first light, the sound of deer running through the woods: the crash of hooves, the swish of blossom-heavy branches of mountain laurel.
A slight breeze brings a shower of petals from the tulip tree, while a squirrel at the top of the black walnut makes it rain catkins.
A black leaf-footed bug squats head-down on a porch post. Two silver-spotted skippers circle and chase, eponymous spots glinting in the sun.
A catbird taps at the dining room window—the same glass that taunts the female cardinal. A tiny shadow darts through the grass: meadow vole.
The first peony, which opened yesterday, is too small to topple from the weight of rain. It merely tilts its flushed face toward the woods.
Drizzle. Just as I get the binoculars out, the cedar waxwings all take off whistling from the tulip tree and its outrageous yellow blooms.
A pileated woodpecker lands on the dead elm right beside the flicker den hole and knocks twice. A flicker pokes her head out. He flies off.
Six nuthatches—parents and fledglings—scour the trees from top to bottom, soft calls communicating who knows what instructive tidbits.
Two maple keys dangle in an old spiderweb underneath the porch railing, like uneaten remnants of some unfortunate winged creature.
The groundhog emerges from her sun-flooded burrow beside the porch and whistles in alarm. The shadow of a tiger swallowtail crosses my legs.