Cold weather has finally returned. Small birds are bathing in the stream despite the iron wind, shaking themselves dry in a dogwood bush.
Male cardinals bathe side-by-side in the stream, then resume chasing. A jay perches in a dogwood bush shaking the water from his wings.
Last night’s heavy frost retreats to the shade. By 10:30, sparrows are bathing in the stream, shaking themselves dry in the sunlit dogwood.
Yarrow, fleabane, silky dogwood… white is in style. But the cabbage white butterflies still prefer the purple remnants of dame’s-rocket.
From high overhead, the faint cries of swans. I scan the clear sky in vain. A blue jay drinks from a seep in the yard beside the dogwoods.
Open water in the ditch. Juncos fly down to drink then up to perch in the snow-laden branches of a dogwood, shaking themselves like dogs.
Now that the walnuts have all fallen, a squirrel deigns to pick one off the ground. The dogwood beside the stream pullulates with sparrows.
The hornets stream in and out of their hole in the garden, departing to the south, returning from the east. A towhee calling in the dogwood.
There must be open water in the ditch: jay- and sparrow-shaped silhouettes are going up and down the dogwood’s laddered branches.
The house finch tries to fit everything into a five-second burst of song, purple among the purple twigs of silky dogwood.