Dull mid-morning light—the threadbare snowpack is brighter than the clouds. A titmouse sounds the predator alarm and a squirrel cleaning off a walnut climbs a few feet higher into the lilac.
Cold rain. The last scrap of December’s snow in the yard has shrunk to the size of a handkerchief. A back-and-forth between a titmouse and a chickadee.
How can it be so yellow out and yet so cold? But the winter birds sound happy: chickadees, nuthatches, a red-bellied woodpecker.
Under a uniformly gray sky the same titmouse has been singing the same monotonous notes, I realize, for the past 45 minutes.
Weak sun through thickening clouds. A robin and his echo. The metallic taps of a titmouse opening a sunflower seed against a drainpipe.
Yesterday’s snow glitters between the shadows of trees. To the winter-long harangues of cardinal, titmouse and Carolina wren, add one phoebe.
A leaden sky at sunrise, but an hour later, the sun glimmers through thinning clouds. Cardinal and titmouse song. The smell of bare dirt.
Another clear, cold sunrise urged on by nuthatches and titmice. As the western ridge turns red, a pileated woodpecker chimes in.
Overcast and cool. A titmouse appears to have developed a taste for caterpillars, circling the trunk of a walnut like a nuthatch.
The last patch of snow is sinking into the earth. A titmouse flits from branch to branch up a walnut sapling, whistling softly to himself.
Large, compound snowflakes drifting this way and that. A titmouse suddenly begins darting after them, hovering and diving like a flycatcher.
Half-way through a slow snowstorm. The birds seem restless. First a titmouse, then a nuthatch land on the edge of the porch to tell me off.
Unseasonably warm. The first half of a song sparrow’s song. Two titmice in the crabapple swipe their bills back and forth on their branches.
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.