Clear but with atmospheric haze, so the sunlight leaking down the trees looks murky behind the goldfinches’ purer yellow.
A few minutes before sunrise. Goldfinch chatter. A half-slice of moon hangs in the east like an icon of wintry cool.
Cool and clear. An asterisk of thistledown floats by—high time for the goldfinches to be nesting, I think. But they’re still gadding about in the treetops.
Clear and cool. A bright yellow goldfinch circles the yard still in shadow, chattering like a bearer of sunlit news.
Heavily overcast. The patchy yellow of a goldfinch and the spicebush he sits in, grooming his breast feathers.
Moonlight fades but the driveway glows even whiter: a new quarter-inch of snow. The sky is clear. Treetop goldfinches start to chatter.
Mid-morning sun through thin clouds. A wren calls in one direction; goldfinches in another. The yard’s only mullein stalk trembles in the wind.
Sunrise, and a contrail becomes a golden sword pointing east. The waxy chatter of goldfinches in the treetops. The silence of the factories.
Bright sun. A goldfinch lands on a spent bergamot head and extracts some seeds. Two hummingbirds battle over my four, scraggly beebalms.
Cool and overcast. Goldfinches chitter over the chirr of tree crickets. For ten seconds, two hummingbirds share the bergamot.
Goldfinches like a cheering section for the sun. A hummingbird hovers 18 inches from my face, then goes around for a side view.
Goldfinches go on chittering the entire time I sit outside, poring over a trail map. One hummingbird sphinx moth works the bergamot.
Out in time for the tail end of the dawn chorus: field sparrow, red-eyed vireo, pewee, goldfinches, catbird. No more wood thrushes, alas.
Brief rain showers, one after another. A goldfinch lands sideways on a blossoming mullein stalk as if to compare yellows.