Where yesterday the hillside was mostly white, now it’s mostly brown, and the dawn chorus is twice as loud with the addition of one robin.
The first phoebe is finally back, chanting his name in the barnyard. Marcescent leaves of a scarlet oak glow orange, back-lit by the sun.
Overcast and cold. An agitation of nuthatches at the edge of the woods, and somewhere beyond, the thin, high whistle of a tree sparrow.
In the mud bowl of the old robin’s nest that the wind blew out of the cedar tree, a fresh dusting of snow. The cardinal’s monotonous chant.
Three pileated woodpeckers work the trees just inside the woods’ edge, inching up trunks and cocking their heads to listen before they tap.
Blue sky, warm sun. Through a curtain of meltwater I watch small birds fly back and forth, silhouetted against the blazing white yard.
Yet again, the world is transformed by new snow clinging to every twig. The Carolina wren pokes his bill out from under the eaves to sing.
A sound I haven’t heard since last fall: a chipmunk’s territorial ticking. I see it zip across the rock-hard snow, tail pointing at 12 noon.
It’s cold. I lie in bed listening to a bluebird. When I emerge onto the porch an hour later, the first blue holes are opening in the clouds.
A new half-inch of snow; I have to brush off my chair before I sit. The sun behind snow clouds is a white blear, a bear, a blinding tooth.
Censored by wind and distance, a mourning dove’s call retains only the middle notes, like a bell tolling for the long, slow death of winter.
One avatar of spring, despite the snow cover: a turkey vulture comes hurtling over the house, wings tilting crazily in the high wind.
In the new snow, the splayed-hand tracks of an opossum cross the porch. A brown creeper busies itself on a tree at the wood’s edge.