Saturday, April 3, 2010

April 3: Ice Cream and Frogs

We were in the Freeport area today, so we checked out the hawk watch for a few hours at Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal. On the short hike up, brown creepers, juncos, and phoebes sang. From the summit we--along with about ten other birders--watched kestrels zip past overhead, red tails shining in the sun. Sharp-shinned hawks flapped and glided in circles around us. In the distance, red-tailed hawks, an eagle, ospreys, turkey vultures, and a goshawk were picked out one by one by the official observers (and eventually us), each bird recognized by its silhouette and flight pattern. A pileated woodpecker called in the forest below us. Tree swallows darted past, the first I'd seen this year. A golden-crowned kinglet hopped in the branches of a nearby tree, crown flared. It was the kind of birding experience that gets my heart racing, and I had all intentions of writing a poem about it. However, as exciting as it was to see those raptors soaring by on their primeval quest to get north, and to see and/or hear other first-of-year birds, different signs of spring gave me today's "haiku moment."

First cone at Round Top:
two scoops with jimmies. Later,
first peeper chorus!

Friend and fellow poet Carl Little has a great spring poem called "Zones of Peeper," about driving around this time of year with the car window cracked open, passing through literal zones of frog song as you go past each vernal pool or wetland. For a moment, the sound pours over you, your heart thrills to it, and then it's gone. We only passed through one zone this evening, but the first one of the season is always the most exciting. Especially if you do so while finishing off an excellent almond joy and Indian pudding ice cream cone.

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