First Tree Swallows


Leaving on my walk at 6:05 a.m. It’s 25 degrees out — even colder than yesterday! First bird I heard was a ROBIN, followed by an OVENBIRD,  CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, CHICKADEE, RED-EYED VIREO, HERMIT THRUSH, BLACK-THROATED BLUE, and NUTHATCH. I heard a trill, but my ears wouldn’t tell me whether it was a JUNCO or a CHIPPING SPARROW. As I got close to the Nature Center I heard a BROWN CREEPER, GOLDFINCH, and GEESE honking as they flew over. They sounded as if they might be headed toward the Nature Center’s beaver pond, but then they circled around and seemed to be headed back toward Bernd’s pond? Or maybe they were flying in a huge circle toward Gillett pond? Got to the Nature Center’s driveway at 6:40 a.m.  and heard a SOLITARY VIREO and the GEESE again. Heavy FROST on the Nature Center’s lawn. Heard a NASHVILLE WARBLER (I think) singing from the side field. Got to the Lookout at 6:55 a.m. It’s a beautiful clear morning — blue sky, white clouds, sun well above the ridgeline — but it’s too cold to sit here and enjoy it. Walking along the Hires Trail toward Lichen Rock, I heard a YELLOWRUMP and a WINTER WREN in the distance. Got to Lichen Rock at 7 a.m. Standing on Lichen Rock in the filtered sunlight listening to the song of the WINTER WREN — what could be more perfect? It could be warmer! It’s too cold to stay here long, but I hate to leave. LATER: Bob says he spotted 2 TREE SWALLOWS on the wires across from the house at about 10 a.m. — first of season.

FIRST TREE SWALLOW OF THE SEASON perched on the wire across from the house. 3:00 p.m. Sunny, clear, and warm: Discovered quite a nice bed of WILD LEEKS right near my side yard, at the beginning of my Dogleg Boundary Trail. Saw a SMALL BAT flying around near chute where I cross the brook when I’m hiking down this way. I recently read  that if you see a bat flying around in broad daylight, it might be sick, but this little bat didn’t look or act sick. Maybe I just startled it since no one except me ever comes down this way. The RATTLESNAKE PLANTAIN leaves are looking good. Maybe I’ll see a flower bloom this year? We’ll see. Saw two big RED TRILLIUMS with fat buds almost ready to open. The red petals are already visible. Also saw two lonely WHITE HEPATICAS in bloom.
As I wander here in the early spring woods, I realize that the Earth knows what it’s doing and would do just fine without us. But I’m here too and want to feel welcome as I wander along quietly, wondering and jotting down my eternal notes on it all. I think wandering and wondering are definitely approved activities for human beings, and I just discovered a new sitting rock right here, which confirms that I am welcome in this place where I have paused to think these thoughts. So this rock, which I’m sitting on right now, will henceforth be my Welcome Rock–to go along with my Hanging Around Tree and Root Handle along this same trail. 4:05 p.m.: I’ve just arrived at the Nature Center’s chute and can hear PEEPERS peeping loudly from the lower beaver ponds. As I reached the top of the big rock at the Observation Pool, I encountered a beautiful metallic green beetle. Henry’s cows are lying down in the late afternoon sun. Saw a MALE WOOD DUCK on the beaver pond just above the bridge to the Heaths’ back meadow. The BEAVERS managed to cut down a sizable ASPEN that was growing on the steep bank of the back sugarbush. The work looks recent. A KINGFISHER flew over just as I was approaching the main crossover from the back to the front sugarbush. Spotted a PHOEBE on the far side of the crossover–TWO OF THEM. There’s a CANADA GOOSE in the water near the beaver lodge. I just heard a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER–FIRST OF THE SEASON. DUCKWEED is just starting in the Hemlock Swamp, and MARSH MARIGOLD LEAVES are coming up. Heard TREE SWALLOWS twittering overhead as I approached the far side of the swamp.