Saturday, October 10, 2009

Autumn's progress

October 7
Wake to drenching rain and leaden sky. I should test to see whether birds are out there. But bed is nice. Rain gives way to diabolical winds in the afternoon (30 mph / 50 kph). Flying branches and deadly high-speed acorns: I stay inside.

October 8
8:15 a.m. Tempest has given way to a glorious clear day. Sparrow Fest '09 continues in the reserve, and there are plentiful white-throated sparrows all frantically feeding amongst the fallen leaves and branches. Watch a male black-throated blue warbler chasing a female from twig to twig to twig. Fall has been given a hurry-up by the winds yesterday: The trees have lost a lot of green foliage; it makes a treacherous blanket on the ground hiding those damned ankle-twisting acorns.

October 9
5:00 p.m. Humid, uncomfortably muggy. What season is this again? Oh, that's right, New England season.
October 10
8:30 a.m. Rainy, still uncomfortably muggy. I did a course on Birding by Ear earlier in the week. This somehow only makes it more frustrating when I hear an impossibly melodic call coming from the reserve as I scoot through it rushing to catch the train for a day in New York. I am convinced I'll be able to commit the song to memory and call my birding expert friend so he can tell me what it is. Within about two minutes the tune has vanished from my mind like a wraith.

Later, when I come back through the park after my day in the city (those MTA announcements to beware of the closing doors, please, are a kind of birdsong to me, too) the weather has turned again. Whipping wind and dry cold air, and ice-crystal clouds high up in the sky. This is the fall weather I love, with its promises of frozen earth and naked twigs.

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