The streamside barberry is orange as a hunter’s cap. A crow silhouetted against the sunrise swipes its bill on the branch as if sharpening a knife.
The catbirds are much more furtive now going into the barberry that hides their nest. Two cuckoos call up a bit of rain.
Hazy sun. The first catbird pops out of a barberry bush, improvising wildly. An ant traverses my collar.
Cold and clear. A sharp-shinned hawk skulking near the ground darts into a barberry bush to await whatever feathered breakfast may come.
A break in the rain. In the barberry bush, a titmouse shakes himself all over. A squirrel pauses on a tulip tree limb to scratch his belly.
A green haze of invasives: daylily, barberry, garlic mustard. A gnatcatcher hovering and diving between raindrops—the tick tick of its bill.
Cold air, bright sun. A song sparrow in the barberry bush sings continuously for nearly a minute—manic in a way I’ve never heard before.
Last night’s ice has melted, but the rain continues. A song sparrow sits in the barberry bush, gorging, emitting a chirp after each berry.
In the red center of a berry-laden barberry bush, a male cardinal turns all about, gorging. When he flies, so much of its red goes with him.
Sky heavy with weather. In the woods, more bare ground than snow. Brightness persists only in scarlet barberries and the fresh green moss.
A sparrow hawk makes two small, fast circles over the ridge, just like a real hawk. A barberry bush has this year’s only flaming foliage.
A cedar waxwing alone in a barberry bush gobbles like candy its dull red pills—no match for the scarlet drops at the tips of his wings.
A fresh inch of snow. In the weak sunlight and bitter wind, three juncos huddle in a barberry bush above the stream, taking turns to drink.
Breezy and warm. A chipmunk scrambles through the blossoming barberry bush next to the stream, releasing waves of its sperm-like odor.