Overcast. Random knocks from an unseen woodpecker. A white-breasted nuthatch’s nervous call punctuates a wood pewee’s song.
I love these frigid mornings with their gift of silence. The stream gurgling out from under my yard. Nuthatches. Wren. A distant screech owl.
Another clear, cold sunrise urged on by nuthatches and titmice. As the western ridge turns red, a pileated woodpecker chimes in.
Scattered snowflakes like free-range musical notation for scattered chirps—chickadee, nuthatch. A hint of sunrise fading from the clouds.
Very cold and still. Just when I think the birds will never wake, the clouds redden a little and a nuthatch fires up its querulous engine.
Clear and cold: -16C/3F. Two white-breasted nuthatches exchange notes. The smoke from my chimney slinks along the ground toward the south.
Steady rain and fog at one degree above freezing: bad luck for our Christmas Bird Count. Over the rain I hear crows, nuthatches, a chickadee.
Clouds with blue veins and sunrise bellies. Two nuthatches trade harangues. A crow summons other crows to—I’m guessing—a fresh gut pile.
No frost for the first time in weeks. Sunrise hidden by clouds, signaled by a slight brightening and a lively exchange between three nuthatches.
Clear and cold. Two nuthatches trade riffs at the edge of the woods. I watch the rising sun crest the ridge one blazing filament at a time.
Two degrees above freezing, with the sun reduced to a bright smudge by a thin wash of cloud. Juncos and a nuthatch forage at the woods’ edge.
A ray of sun strikes the lilac, setting its yellow buds aglow. The sound of water gurgling under my yard. The back-and-forth of nuthatches.
Under low, heavy clouds, the air is still. I listen for the patter of raindrops but all I hear is a nuthatch, some crows, a raven’s croak.
Fine snow begins to fall. A squirrel is leaping through the treetops as if on some other white powder. Wakening nuthatches compare notes.