Thursday, March 17, 2005

Afternoon birdwatching notes--no politics today

Heard the faint, urgent clamor of sandhill cranes far overhead. It took a while to spot them--they were half a mile high I'd guess, pulsating north in perfect Vs and Ws for a while, then encounting some invisible disturbance or uncertainty about the directions and breaking apart into a gyrating confused eddy, until a leader once again broke northward and and the throbbing string Vs and Ws resumed their northward ho! hurrah! sweep towards Canada. Idly I wonder how it feels to migrate north. Like hunger, or incompletion, or nostalgia, or something we can't imagine? Probably that. So away they go, following a flyway drawn in the lines of magnetic force, and soon they become a haze and then I can't find them anymore even with my 10x50 binoculars, but I think I still hear them.

This cheers me up.

Near Onion Creek a red-shouldered hawk circles over the still-bare hackberry trees, and blackbirds (female redwings, I think) erupt with a giant subsonic flutter that you can feel and seems much larger than the sound it makes.

Beautiful day. No clouds, 65 degrees. Some of the more risk-oriented trees, like the cedar elm (ulmus crassifolia) are already putting out leaves, no doubt they would opt for private accounts. I see lots of deer tracks--one whitetail deer breaks cover with a sudden blowing noise like a porpoise surfacing that startles me, like it always does. Along the horse trails you can see lots of coyote turds, distinct from the common dog turd by its being matted with felted rodent fur. But no actual coyotes, or dogs, or horse riders are out today to share the trails. It's a workday, after all.

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