Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Farewell 'Til Spring

The low, grey clouds and cold wind of yesterday, gave way today to blindingly bright sunlight, a clear, deep blue sky, and a brisk breeze from the north. In the early morning, though fewer than yesterday, there were still flocks of robins, white throated sparrows, and waxwings in the garden, feeding on berries. They were joined by a few dozen grackles high in the treetops, with their coal black bodies and purplish-black heads shining as if made of polished metal. While yesterday the waxwings were focused entirely on eating, today they were flying back and forth in the sunshine, calling to each other with a high pitched "Zeeee". As the sun rose higher and warmed, I went back out in the garden with my camera, hoping to get a better picture of one of the cedar waxwings. As I was walking the back pathway, next to the deeper ravine, a flock of waxwings suddenly flew up, and headed down the valley across the pond, where they turned south, and with the stiff breeze at their backs, were gone over the horizon in a moment. Immediately, other flocks of perhaps twenty waxwings each, started coming out of the woods, and following the same path, then mixed flocks, with waxwings, grackels, robins, and other birds followed in rapid, succession, all wheeling south over the pond, and then disappearing over the ridge. In a matter of three minutes, the woods were empty of birds, except for one robin, still sitting on a limb, apparently snoozing in the warm sun.

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