Mid-morning and the yard is seething with birds—chickadees, sparrows, juncos, nuthatches, titmice—foraging and singing despite the sleet.
Warm sun and an inversion layer bringing traffic noise from over the ridge. Cardinals and titmice compete with the whine of truck tires.
Bitter wind. A small privet bush bends under the weight of six juncos, then two titmice, then three waxwings, each feasting on its berries.
The usual bird calls—cardinal, titmouse, red-bellied woodpecker—but something seems off. It’s the clouds, coming from the wrong direction.
Under low, gray clouds, the sound of traffic from the valley. A titmouse at the woods’ edge keeps whistling his one, querulous note.
A few degrees above freezing. Three titmice drop out of the sunlit oaks to investigate the dead elm, en route to a quick bath in the stream.
A pileated woodpecker lands on the dead elm with a rattle of wings, the elm swaying. Below in the lilac a titmouse hammers away at an acorn.
A new bloom of gnats—I saw them swarming by the back door—and the yard is full of fall warblers, foraging with the chickadees and titmice.
Gray things: a squirrel and a titmouse sharing a gray limb. A catbird in the road swallowing gray stones. Large parts of the sky.
Between bitter gusts of wind, I hear the calls of juncos and nuthatches, chickadees and titmice, a song sparrow singing in the ditch.