Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December 31: Last day of the year

In broad daylight, fox
crosses the snowy yard.
Spirit of old year or new?

New Year's Eve Foxfires at the Changing Tree, Ōji
Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, Tokyo (Edo) 1797–1858 Tokyo (Edo)).

Monday, December 30, 2013

December 30: Woolly Bear

Caterpillar found
on the snowy porch
curls up in my palm.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

December 28: Ducks on the Passy

Counting birds on some of Coastal Mountains Land Trust's Passy Greenway preserves in Belfast for part of the day, for the N. Penobscot Bay Christmas Bird Count, was more of a challenge than I'd anticipated. The effects of the recent ice storm are still quite visible, thanks to persistent cold temperatures. Everywhere, trees remain coated and bent to the ground with their burden of ice. It was as if entire forests were bowing down in severe obeisance to Skadi, the Norse goddess of winter.

It took me hours to clamber around one trail on snowshoes on the partially crusted snow. The second trail I'd planned to hike was impassable--too many frozen trees in the way. The third trail was too steep and icy for me to get far. So in the end, I gave up: I shucked my snowshoes, drove to Belfast harbor, and walked out on the Footbridge to watch ducks bobbing in the falling tide.

In the chilled harbor
ducks posture for mates.
When you feel it, you feel it.

Entrance to the Stover Preserve.
See why I didn't get far?

The icy forest of the Stephenson Preserve

Friday, December 27, 2013

December 27: Evening sounds

I can hear the cat
greedily eating
from two rooms away.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

December 26: Boxing Day

Fir needles underfoot.
Cat chases
an origami crane.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December 25: Christmas

Jupiter shining
in the east,
a beckoning star.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December 24: The day after

Every twig, every branch,
every tree, encased,
as if lovingly, with ice.

Monday, December 23, 2013

December 23: Ice Storm

So precarious,
our footing
in this glittering world.

December 22: Gifts

Against the backdrop of a glittering but dangerous ice storm, we celebrated an early Christmas with my family last night, feasting on our traditional lobster stew, exchanging gifts, and cheering on the Patriots (who clinched the AFC East title).

Bounty of food, family love.
And even the Patriots
gave us a gift.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

December 21: Winter Solstice

Participated today in the Thomaston-Rockland Christmas Bird Count. For the first time we found a Snowy Owl in our count area, on the Samoset golf course. The heavily barred bird looked like a rock until it moved. And then we found another, paler one, perched atop a church. Crows harassed it until it flew off over Rockland Harbor, a flurry of white wings and black in the bleak sky. The owl's yellow eyes shone pure and cold; the length and scimitar curve of its talons made me shiver. Such beauty, such deadly beauty. Like winter itself. 

We welcome winter
in the form of
two Snowy Owls.
One of today's owls, courtesy of Brian Willson (c), maineseasons.com

Friday, December 20, 2013

December 20: Friday evening

By week's end
my mind as blank
as the sky.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

December 19: We finally go see "The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug"

For a few hours
we forget about snow and cold,
immersed in dragon fire.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 18: ...and more snow

of bird tracks etched
in this morning's powder.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 17: Box of oranges arrives at the office

Gift of oranges.
We peel them while talking
of tonight's snowstorm.

Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16: Driving home, tired

Drive home alone.
The moon withdraws,
shrinks as it rises.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

December 15: Moment of clarity

After all the shoveling,
the night sky's
brilliantly clear.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December 14: Hot buttered rum

Snow starts to fall.
I warm my hands
on the hot mug.

Friday, December 13, 2013

December 13: Winter Storm Watch

One day before the storm
night sky clear enough
to see falling stars.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December 12: Frozen

Even cat tracks frozen
in the driveway
look vulnerable.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 11: Squirrely

Hanging from the eaves,
squirrel drops an apple
past my window.

December 10: Comfort food

Buttered toast
just like my grandmother
used to make for me.

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 9: Getting there

Boxes of ornaments
stacked in the hall.
Tree leans on the porch.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

December 8: Holiday spirit

In the car
I sing to myself, loudly,
"My Favorite Things."

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December 7: Chill a moment

Rushing to get out of the cold,
I'm stopped by calls
of geese overhead.

Friday, December 6, 2013

December 6: Christmas by the Sea

Beyond the lights
and crowded sidewalks
sighs the dark harbor.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December 5: Wicked dark

Even in this dark
I can tell
those are white pines.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December 4: Christmas lights make the long night easier to bear

Through the darkness,
haze of red and green lights--
neighbor's tree.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December 3: Abundance

Open your eyes to
what's out there. A friend saw
ten Snowy Owls today.

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2: Advent

Little window, opened,
reveals a snowman.
Outside, rain streams down.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December 1: Owl on the rocks

Snowy Owl seen today at Rye Harbor, NH

Cold white stone
at ocean's edge--
owl visitor. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November 30: End of November

River not yet frozen.
A single beech leaf shivers
against an ice-blue sky.

Friday, November 29, 2013

November 29: Mozart on the radio

For my workout high
and this winter-blue sky,
Mozart sounds just right.

November 28: Long drive home after Thanksgiving dinner

We leave the family home.
Jupiter watches
our progress homeward.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November 27: In bed

I fall asleep to The Hobbit,
dream of owls,
wake to torrents of rain. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 26: Like living in a snow globe

Light snow falling this morning, enough that my brakes didn't quite catch at that first stop sign on my way to work. Fortunately, the powdered streets were quiet, a held breath.

One lesson of snow:
control is an illusion.
Breathe in that cold air.

Monday, November 25, 2013

November 25: Monday

Darkness falls early--
feels like
I just woke up.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

November 24: Dim sum

My first but definitely not last visit to Empire, a new Chinese restaurant in Portland, while driving back from the snow and ice of northern Vermont this afternoon.

First snowstorm, fierce winds--
inside, we bite into
steaming pork dumplings.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

November 21: Wake up

Four geese fly 
across the white face
of the morning moon.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November 20: Goddess of Love

Above the twilight horizon:
bright Venus
setting slowly.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 19: First snowflakes

Milkweed pods
rattle in the wind.
First few snowflakes fall.

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18: Frost Moon

Outshining the white lights
strung across the restaurant window:
November full moon.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

November 17: Road trip

Dinner in Brunswick tonight at Henry and Marty's to celebrate a friend's birthday...
Taillights blurred by rain--
long drive home
after dinner out with friends.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

November 16: Warmth of a sleeping cat.

Turn the heat up.
The cat has left my lap
to watch squirrels.

Friday, November 15, 2013

November 15: Heavy frost

Freezing in flannel,
so why am I surprised
to see this heavy frost?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

November 14: It's so dark so early now

"Marketplace" on the radio
as I drive home from the gym.
Starless sky anticlimactic.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

November 13: Carolina Wren visits our feeder

According to my notes, a Carolina Wren last visited our bird feeder in 2006. I was especially surprised to see one on this cold morning, as they're a southern species that's moved into the northern climes of Maine only recently. Even though I was running late this morning, I had to stop and admire this uncommon bird-visitor on the other side of the kitchen window.

Washing breakfast dishes,
I pause to watch
a wren at the feeder.

Photo courtesy of Dan Pancamo / Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 12: Blue / moon

Waxing moon
shines on our neighbor's
blue metal roof.

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11: Bird's tail

Sunlight shining through
a lady's exquisite fan--
bird flying in, tail spread.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 10: Sleeping bird

Feeding the cat at dawn,
I wake the finch
in the window feeder.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

November 9: Lying awake, listening to the dark

Here in town
dog's barking replaces
soft calls of owls.

Friday, November 8, 2013

November 8: In the air

Snow spits on Mount Battie.
Here, milkweed pods
explode in the wind.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November 7: Dark so early

Lights of a barge
on the black bay.
Last pages of a good thriller.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 6: Sandhill Cranes

Mom calls from Florida to tell
how a crane ate Cheerios
from her hand.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November 5: We vote at the firehouse in my hometown

Big Dipper's handle curves
above hulking fire trucks,
all those cast ballots.

Monday, November 4, 2013

November 4: Driving to work

Clear morning, long drive--
rehearsing what to say
in my head.

November 3: Urban birding

Along the railroad tracks--
squatters' sodden campsites,
white-throated sparrows.

November 2: Day of the Dead

Over the highway
seven soaring vultures--
what's below them unseen.

Friday, November 1, 2013

November 1: After the rain stopped

Opened the window
to wake myself up--
songs of goldfinches.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

October 31: Halloween

Outside, pitch-dark.
All rainy evening
two cats go in and out.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October 30: Buffleheads

Count six bobbing ducks,
then thirty. Coldest morning yet.
I hardly notice.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 29: Morning ritual

Crow watches
as I scrape the frost
from my windshield.

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28: Hooded Mergansers

Driving through Belfast this afternoon after a couple of meetings, I gave myself permission to take the time to stop and watch a group of about ten Hooded Mergansers bobbing in the dark waters of a small, city-owned pond called The Muck.

Pulled over to watch
mergansers gathered on a pond.
Just that.

Hooded Merganser drake.
Photo by Ken Billington via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, October 27, 2013

October 27: Sunday

In from the woods.
Crusty boule, toasted, with Brie.
Football on TV.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

October 26: Nostalgia

One maple still glows
still holds all its shining leaves
and two crows.

Friday, October 25, 2013

October 25: Movement

Unseen upriver
many geese honking,
then the flurry of wings.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

October 24: Weather report

Waiting for wind to rise
and strip away all these colors.
He's gone again.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 23: Pandora

Listening to Pandora Internet Radio while at work...

Ah, this song,
and those last red leaves.
I get nothing done.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October 22: Deeper into fall

Waiting for a phone call.
A single crow flies straight
and high overhead.

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21: Beechnuts

Split beechnut husks
piled along the path.
What will get me through winter?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 20: After they saw the Wizard of Oz exhibit at the Farnsworth Museum

My mom and I took my two young nieces up the chair lift at the Camden Snow Bowl this morning, to enjoy the view from on high on Ragged Mountain: burnished golds of the foliage, glimpse of the bay and its islands.

She had to wear
her shiny new red shoes
up the mountain.

[Information on the Farnsworth's Wizard of Oz exhibit, which I haven't yet seen, here.]

Saturday, October 19, 2013

October 19: Sumac

Scarlet sumac leaves,
scarlet sumac berries.
A turkey scuttles past.

Friday, October 18, 2013

October 18: Storm passing

Was walking in the wet woods this morning just as the rain clouds were lifting away and the last drops shaken loose from the branches shone in the incipient sunlight.

Gold aspen leaves plastered
on the forest floor,
one wet, white mushroom.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

October 17: Megunticook Lake

Lake's surface unreal, so smooth.
Thinking about last night's dream
as I drive past.

(This photo by Scott Dickerson could've been taken this morning but wasn't.)

October 16: Rustle

Something rustles
in the leaves. Mist on the river
turns to rain.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 15: Gifts

To a cat
a dead mouse on the doorstep
is a thoughtful gift.

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 14: Corn maze at Beth's Farmstand

Blackbirds and unseen kids
chatter while we find our way
through the corn maze.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 13: Cathedral Woods

No sunlight down here.
The only sounds: distant sea
and our footsteps.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

October 12: Back to Monhegan

The same trees, red now.
The same sea, breathing
a cold autumn song.

Friday, October 11, 2013

October 11: Just before sunset, then sunset

Looking out the back window this evening as the sun sinks lower: first, a placid-looking tabby cat, not ours, just sitting there at the edge of the grass for a long time, looking toward the house; still there; still there; still there; then, sky aglow with sunset's hot pinks and oranges. Then, of course, darkness. That always comes.

Strange cat sits calmly
at our lawn's edge, stalks away.
Then, blazing sky.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

October 10: Zugunruhe

Gotta love those German compound nouns: Zug (move, migration) + Unruhe (restlessness, anxiety) = the urge to migrate, used most often in reference to birds.

Sparrows in the fields.
Just made my reservations
for this weekend's trip.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October 9: Office work

Crow caws sound like laughter.
I'm stuck inside
on a perfect fall day.

October 8: Direction

Stepped out last night to see if the aurora borealis visible in northern Maine was visible here. 

New moon moving west
all afternoon, and now
Big Dipper points north.

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7: Postseason

As the autumn leaves glow dimly through the mist in the dying light of this October evening, the Red Sox third playoff game vs. the Tampa Bay Rays in a five-game ALDS series has just gotten underway.

Bottom of the first.
Spaghetti sauce simmers
while I knit, anxiously.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

September 7: Memorial celebration for Kate

When we talk about
goldenrod and asters, it's
really about grief.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August 1

Taking a summer vacation from haiku for a while...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 31: Water Lily

A bird whose song I couldn't recognize was making noise outside my office this afternoon, so I wandered out with my binoculars to try and track it down. I never did see the bird, but I ended up at the river's edge surprised to realize that I hadn't been down there for a few months. Or at least, not recently enough to have remembered there were water lilies growing near the shore there--including one big white one in full bloom.

Water lily's beauty
amplified by the river
reflecting blue sky, clouds.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 30: Hostas

Berries on cereal.
Hosta blossoms hum with bees.
So begins my day.

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29: Hollyhocks

Maroon hollyhocks
along the weathered gray shed.
The past, always with us.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 28: Long drive home

Husband at the wheel,
Red Sox on the radio
the whole drive, winning.

July 27: Grand Lake Stream

Spent the weekend Down East in interior Washington County, at Weatherby's sporting lodge in the lakeside hamlet of Grand Lake Stream. You get there after a 3-1/2-hour drive through very rural Maine which included a Passamaquoddy Indian reservation, torrential rains, and a flooded road on the route we took. This weekend was the GLS annual arts and crafts festival, a quality event that attracts people from miles around--so the tiny town of one store is suddenly abuzz with festival-goers overwhelming (and probably overlapping with) the usual crowd of fishermen and ATVers.
We stayed in a little cabin at Weatherby's. Saturday we visited friends at their camp tucked into the pines on the shore of West Grand Lake. We enjoyed an afternoon cocktail on their porch while listening to the sounds of the summer lake. The sky had cleared at last ,and the lake sparkled as we rode back to town in their classic square-sterned Grand Laker canoe, just in time for dinner together at the lodge.
Screen door's slam, slap of
flip-flops on dock, lake warm
under my trailing hand.

Friday, July 26, 2013

July 26: Short run in the morning rain

Still sore, short of breath,
but the soft summer rain
has washed my skin clean.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

July 25: Cacophony

Right now I can hear out my window, all at the same time, and loud:
2 cawing crows, one of them whiny, probably a younger bird
1 Blue Jay
1 Red-eyed Vireo, non-stop all day
1 Song Sparrow
1 cardinal

Beats the lawnmower,
this birdsong circus under
treetops' lush green tent.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 24: Haiku on Hatchet Mountain

This afternoon I led a haiku hike up Hatchet Mountain in Hope (such alliteration!) for Coastal Mountains Land Trust and Sweet Tree Arts. Two familes, including four children, three adults, and two dogs, and I walked up the hill with stops along the way to compose short poems. Highlights included a singing Scarlet Tanager, a porcupine climbing a tree with surprising speed (trying to get away from us), views of the Camden Hills and all the way to the ocean, and lots of blackberries and raspberries to eat along the way.

Who can write haiku
with all these blackberries
to pick and eat?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 23: My mother's deer

My mother was dealing with a stressful situation this afternoon. While she was anxiously waiting on the phone, on hold, she happened to look out the window and see this graceful doe looking back at her.

photo by Vicki Henderson

The doe, too, anxious
as my mother waiting for
good news on the phone.

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 22: After seeing the movie "Before Midnight"

Full moon rises hazy
over Rockland Harbor.
Night, full of promise.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 21: Early morning at the camp

Paul and a loon fish.
From the tallest pine, merlin
breaks the morning calm.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

July 20: Watching my husband fishing on the pond

Many thin lines
of the pond's reeds, one shining
line as he casts.

Friday, July 19, 2013

July 19: One wakes early on these hot summer mornings

Aroused early
by titmouse song. I thought it was
my bedside alarm.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

July 18: Rainfall breaks the heat wave

Finally rain falling.
Across the street in the dark
a child calls out.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

July 17: True love

At the lecture
elderly couple holds hands
the entire hour.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 16: Dog Days

Behind the fan's hum
vireo singing
all day long.

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15: Alder flies

Home after dark,
greeted by swarming flies
drawn to the porch light.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

July 14: After the party

Finally alone.
In the dark field,

Saturday, July 13, 2013

July 12: Under the tent

Observed while seated under a huge tent with 600 people for an outdoor event at Colby College last night...

Bumping against the windows
of the party tent--
one big dragonfly.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 11: Ripening and blooming

This morning I had to laugh as a catbird emphatically "chuck-chuck chuck-chuck'ed" in the blueberry bush, staring at the hard green berries as if willing them to ripen. 

Later, at home, I collected a shirt full of cherry tomatoes from my hanging tomato plant, warmed by the sun and so sweet when popped in my mouth. Meanwhile, many of the flowers in my garden are in bloom or ready to bloom--the deep orange Embers of Vesuvius day lily is loaded with long buds, and the echinacea patch looks about ready to unfurl its petals and show its many faces.

Catbird and I, both
impatient for blueberries
just now blushing pink.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July 10: Country roads

Down the long dirt road
old farmhouse freshly painted
a glimpse of the lake

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 9: Chilly fog descends after days of heat

No longer sultry--
pulling on my flannel shirt
after heat wave's past.

Monday, July 8, 2013

July 8: Tomato plant

After a day's work
I feel inspired watering
the tomato plant.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

July 7: Seen in passing

Observed while driving through the town of Round Pond this evening...

Just before sunset,
old man on his porch, eating
a fat slice of pie.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

July 6: Early morning run before it gets too hot

Eighty-two degrees.
After my run, how cool
the dewy bushes.

Friday, July 5, 2013

July 5: Fiona's birthday

My niece turned seven today, and we had a family celebration at her parents' camp on a lake in Union. As we were all feasting with much merriment, a spectacular sunset was bubbling up behind the trees, turning the water pink. Later, the neighbors set off loud by pretty fireworks. And all around the camp, illusory fireflies glittered in the darkness.

Diffusing sunset.
Fiona blows out candles.
Fireflies blink on... off...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4: Joy of waking to sunshine on a summer holiday

Sun shining through blinds.
Outside, a runner pads past.
Cat still sleeping.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 3: Holiday weekend begins

Paul finishes mowing,
picks cherry tomatoes.
Finally, sunshine.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 2: Entropy

After breakfast--
sweeping peony petals
from the tabletop.

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1: Summer marsh

This morning I visited Scarborough Marsh with my bird guide friend Derek in hopes of seeing a couple of unusual birds that have been reported there recently: Black-necked Stilt and Seaside Sparrow, both of which breed south of Maine. IF&W biologists were out in the marsh with mist nets carrying out some sort of bird research--as luck would have it, right where the stilt has been hanging out, so we had no hope of seeing that bird, but we watched and waited for the sparrow.

As we stood on Eastern Road, all around us many Nelson's Sparrows sang their odd song, a drawn-out spshhh that sounds just like water dropped into a hot frying pan--appropriate for a humid morning. Blackbirds tooted in the reeds. Sun began to disperse the fog lingering over Pine Point, and darker clouds portending afternoon rain rolled in from the west. Here and there white egrets feed silently in the pannes, while Willets startled up from their nests, flashing the white crescents on their wings. Along the edge of the trail, wild roses perfumed the salty air. A Glossy Ibis flew overhead.

Our patience paid off. Derek eventually spotted a Seaside Sparrow singing not too far off in the marsh. I picked up on the song and eventually got some very good looks at this life bird. Not a bad start to my morning. Then I had to rush north to get in a half day's work.

Anxious Willets flush
from marshy pockets, crying.
That kind of morning.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 30: Wildcat Mountain

Our birding tour continued with a morning visit to Wildcat Mountain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Wildcat ski area faces Mount Washington, and a ride up the gondola to just below the summit can offer a spectacular view of the highest mountain(s) in New England. Fortunately we had clear skies and a warm day for this quest for Boreal Chickadees and other boreal birds. We were even able to see the observatory on the summit of Mount Washington, which had been completely enshrouded by thick clouds on last night's visit, invisible even as we stood near it.

The ski trails were speckled with clusters of white bunchberry flowers. On the observation deck at the summit, we were serenaded by Winter Wrens and thrushes, and later joined by backpackers hiking on the Appalachian Trail, happy to have bagged another peak.

We didn't find the chickadee, but no one complained.

Up the mountainside.
Below my swinging feet,
birds sing in treetops.

Mt. Washington (left) and Mt. Adams, from Wildcat Mt.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

June 29: Mount Washington

After last night's late night at Fenway, I was barely awake early this morning when we embarked on a bird tour to the White Mountains, on a quest for the rare and elusive Bicknell's Thrush. The thrush breeds in dense boreal forest, a very limited habitat due in large part to deforestation of its breeding grounds and its winter home in the Caribbean. Here in northern New England they are limited to just a handful of mountaintop breeding sites, including Katahdin, Mount Washington, and Bigelow Mountain. So not only is the bird scarce, but its preferred habitat of impenetrable spruce thickets--combined with its disinclination to jump up and sing from visible perches--also makes it challenging to see those few that are around to be found.

To help us see the thrush, our guide, Derek Lovitch of Freeport Wild Bird Supply, chartered a private van tour that took us up the Mount Washington Auto Road after-hours, which was a treat in itself. We had the mountain to ourselves for a couple of hours, so we were able to walk up a stretch of the road to look for alpine birds like American Pipit, visit the mist-shrouded windy summit (where we couldn't see any of the buildings), and put in a concerted effort to find Bicknell's Thrushes in the appropriate habitat and elevation.

As the thrush's crazy, flute-like song rose from the wall of flagged and stunted spruces, dramatic clouds shifted and scudded overhead, glowing in the day's last light. A combination of rain and sun produced a fragment of a rainbow, visible touching down on a distant peak. We were ultimately rewarded with good looks at birds flying back and forth across (and at one point on) the road. But even before we saw the bird, my spirits were already high; I was most definitely wide awake, maybe for the first time all day.

A single thrush sings
under scudding sunset clouds.
My heart touches the sky.

Visit Freeport Wild Bird Supply for more information on this and other bird tours.
And/or you can read our guide's blog post about this trip.

Friday, June 28, 2013

June 28: Fenway

Saw the Red Sox win 7-5 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. We left Camden in a cloud of fog and rain, and enjoyed a warm, clear summer evening under the lights in Boston, with great seats right behind home plate.

After the baseball game
fans sing along with buskers
in the T station.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 27: Late night in the neighborhood

Drive home late, passing
man walking a dog,
fox dashing into bushes.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 26: Rest

Chickadee pauses
in the feeder, not eating.
Rain drips off the eaves.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 25: Heat of the moment

Seven vultures ride
thermals rising off the road.
I'm a warm body.

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24: Hot

Ah, the sultry days of summer, how I've missed you...

No cicadas here,
just the persistent whine
of neighbor's lawnmower.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 23: Sunday morning

I lie in bed late
soothed by passing rainstorm,
lone singing sparrow.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 22: Pine woods in summer

Went for a trail run this morning at Fernalds Neck Preserve--the "neck" being a point of land jutting into Megunticook Lake. Clouds hung close, making for a steamy solo outing among the pines. As I hit the trail, Hermit Thrushes were singing around me, along with several different warblers, two species of vireo, and at one point, a Winter Wren. When I got close to a water overlook, a loon called from the lake. Near a wetland, as I splashed through a muddy patch, yellowthroat and Blue Jays. And as I stretched red-faced by the car, run complete, a Bobolink's cascading song spilled over from a nearby field, and a waxwing's high-pitched call pierced the thick air.

Trying to outrun flies
I run from bird to bird
along the soft trail.

Friday, June 21, 2013

June 21: Summer Solstice

The longest day, and it's been a beautiful one. After work I had a drink with my mom and my godmother, then we moved on to the nearby pizza place to chow down al fresco with my husband and a friend while the big waxing moon rose over Camden harbor. One of those summer evenings when you don't want to go inside.

Voices of children
carry through the neighborhood.
Darkness comes slowly.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 20: Evening chorus

Tonight after an event at Cellardoor Winery out in the Lincolnville countryside, the moon was waxing fat and frogs sang just as loudly as two months ago.

Spring peepers singing,
still just as needy for love.
Midsummer's Eve.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June 19: Office music

Turn off Pandora.
A robin shares his music
all afternoon.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 18: Burgeoning

Under the raindrops
peonies bow tousled heads,
perfume the cleansed air.

Monday, June 17, 2013

June 17: Thunder

Thunderstorm rolled through this afternoon. You could feel the tension in the air before the sky began to rumble, then the release of rain.

Roll up car windows.
Phoebe says its name, frantic,
as thunder rumbles.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 16: Road-kill

Driving on 295 to Portland today for a Sea Dogs game. A good time had by all, and yet...

We didn't talk about
the roadside dead deer
but it haunted me all day.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June 15: Little Moose Island, Schoodic

Spent the morning on Schoodic Point in Acadia National Park. The tide was low, so we were able to walk over to Little Moose Island on an exposed natural causeway. I was with three botanists, so learned a lot about the plant life: the male Roseroot Sedum has yellow flowers and the female has red; what we call juniper "berries" are actually tiny cones; and Xanthoria lichens do not just grow where rodents have urinated...

Even sea-scoured
bare granite harbors flowers,
blooms of lichen.

Blue Flag & Xanthoria lichen

Bunchberry and gull feather

Cinquefoil? tucked in granite

Roseroot Sedum

Xanthoria lichen rings

Roseroot Sedum and Blue Flags

June 14: Schoodic

Spent the night at the Schoodic Research & Education Center (SERC) to attend an evening presentation by Scott Weidensaul--who's written the best book I've ever read on bird migration, Living on the Wind--and to participate in a program there. Stayed up much too late after the presentation talking with friends.

Up late talking with friends.
By the time I went to bed
the moon had set.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 12: Lilacs

Out of my reach
the highest blossoms
are the only ones not yet brown.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June 11: Shrew

We came home last night to find a dead rodent deposited in the middle of our front lawn. Perhaps it was meant as a gift to our cat, an indoor cat who tries her best to interact through the window with all the neighborhood cats--as well as birds, bugs, etc.--outside.

We looked it up in our mammal field guide: Short-tailed Shrew. I picked it up by its short tail and gently laid it under the ferns at the edge of the lawn, for it to hopefully be found and carried off in the night. The field guide tells us that this shrew has a poisonous bite, a surprising defense for such a minuscule creature.

Intact but dead shrew--
sacrifice for the cat gods,
those merciless ones?

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10: Mown

I mow the back yard only a few times a season, generally preferring to let the ferns and wildflowers flourish. Yesterday was a mowing day, and at least one creature besides myself seemed grateful for the shorn grass.

While I watch from inside
single crow calmly
picks through mown lawn's stubble.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

June 9: Pear

Home alone doing the Sunday Times crossword on a grey, chilly morning.

I admire how
a single ripe pear
fills the bright orange bowl.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

June 8: Thinking about a friend who's dying

After the rain stopped
cardinal flew through the yard
and back again.

Friday, June 7, 2013

June 7: Buds

A heavy rain falls
on peony buds closed tight,
unenlightened minds.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 6: Craneflies

Came home the other night to find two craneflies mating on the well-lit front door, connected end to end.

Where one cranefly ends,
another begins.
Such perfect union.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June 5: Dodging swallowtails

Route 52 was a corridor of butterflies today--all along Megunticook Lake, swallowtails rose up before my car, then fluttered away in my wake. My car felt like a large, unwieldy instrument of destruction around such fragile bits of life.

Between lake, mountain
I try to dodge butterflies
in my monstrous car.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June 4: Borrowed shirt

His old linen shirt,
shrunk in the wash and now mine--
my possessiveness sparked.

Monday, June 3, 2013

June 3: Tattoo

In the taco joint
woman with much-tattooed chest
holding her baby.

I'm wondering how she nurses the baby without frightening him.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June 2: Return of the Red-eyed Vireo

In the neighborhood this morning...

Another hot morning.
Back for the summer,
Vireo sings non-stop.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

June 1: Nest

Helped lead a walk today as part of the Acadia Birding Festival on Mount Desert Island, on the Wonderland Trail in Acadia National Park. The short trail passes through stunted boreal spruce and jack pine forest to emerge on the granite shores of the sea. As we scanned the waves, one participant looked down instead... and found the nest of a Song Sparrow tucked in a rose bush, neatly cupping four mottled blue eggs.

Vastness that is sea
alongside these small blue eggs,
singing sparrow.

Friday, May 31, 2013

May 31: June bugs

June bugs bounce off screens
in the velvet dark,
my only company.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 30: Run

First run in a few months, could only manage about a mile. But I had to start somehow. Today was spring's first very warm day--in the 80s--and the only bird heard was a cardinal blurting out his staccato song at day's end.

As I jog slowly
down the busy roadside,
I step on deer tracks.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 29: Rain again

After a brief respite from rain and drizzle, wet weather returns. I didn't have the heart to stop the jay from stealing peanuts from the bird feeder this afternoon, it looked so wet and miserable. A bit like my state of mind. The grey squirrel, however, still had to go.

Bedraggled blue jay,
I won't shoo you from my feeder
this time.

May 28: Spruce forest

Walking on my favorite trail through Cathedral Woods, the path soft, well-padded with spruce needles and thick, bright moss, rotting stumps of fallen spruces and cones rolling underfoot. From beyond the dense wall of spruces, long ethereal song of the Winter Wren. This is a magic place. No wonder the children build fairy houses here.

Kinglet's high-pitched song
spills down like rolling cones
from the spruce tops.

May 27: Dead bird

Some migrating birds get this far in their journey and still don't make it. Today a dead kingbird was found on a beach. We could tell by its prominent breastbone, sharp through its soft feathers, that the bird had completely depleted its fat stores. It had flown thousands of miles from South America this spring, only to starve in the fog on a small Maine island.

The kingbird wasn't the only dead bird found. But the other casualties, a Canada Warbler and two yellowthroats found in the middle of a trail, were victims of cats--a fate somehow even more tragic than simple depletion and exhaustion.

Dead kingbird in hand--
sad discovery of sharp bones,
hidden red crown.

May 26: Birds on the beach

Monhegan. Days of rain and fog have grounded migrating songbirds, forcing them to forage in the wrack on the beach for food to get them through until they can continue their flight northward. Colorful redstarts flitted like butterflies on the sand, hopped around at our feet.

Suspecting this kind of situation, our friend Derek had brought mealworms to share. The birds were so hungry that they overcame their usual shyness and ate them right out of our hands. Even flycatchers were chasing mealworms tossed in the air.

I can barely feel it,
this small bird
feeding in my hand.

Wet and bedraggled American Redstart resting
Redstart with a mealworm

Derek feeds a redstart mealworms from his hand

Saturday, May 25, 2013

May 25: Flowering trees

Drive around now and everywhere white and pink flowering apple, cherry, and crabapple trees shine amid the surrounding green leaves, veritable clouds of flowers. Up close, the rain has released their redolent fragrances, each tree its own bottle of fresh spring perfume. Old apple trees appear in the most unexpected places, reminding us of a forest's former life as a field. And even the dullest front lawn is transformed by the presence of one tree in bloom.

Petals scattered by rain--
sidewalk a black canvas
for spring's wild art.

Friday, May 24, 2013

May 24: Continuing rain

A curtain of water makes more vivid the green tapestry of the spring trees. Clouds and mist soften the contours of the landscape, create a background of grey and white against which the trees shine even more brightly. A stand of beech trees, waving chartreuse leaves larger than hands, is almost psychedelic in the fog. Birds are hard to spot in this weather--who has the patience to stand long in the rain, vision obscured by water dripping on binoculars?--but still they sing. Dry inside, I listen to hear them over the rain.

Rain drips off the roof,
its rhythm punctuating
robin's late day song.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May 23: Downtown bird

Walking to my car in downtown Camden tonight after enjoying pizza with friends, I was a little surprised to hear a Black-throated Green Warbler singing his buzzy song in the handful of trees in the tiny Village Green.

Over traffic hum,
over the spatter of rain--
one warbler singing.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May 22: Birds in fog

Sorry, I've been slipping up on the haiku-a-day lately. These early mornings birding followed by busy work days don't help my creative energy at day's end. Nor does being on an island with poor Internet connectivity, as I was last weekend and will be this coming weekend. But I'm never gone for long!


This morning, I led a bird walk at Beech Hill Preserve in Rockport. Yes, it was pouring. Yes, we all got soaked. But there's something so invigorating about hearing thrushsong in the misty distance as we pause on the muddy trail. Or seeing a towhee looming in the fog, its striking black, white, and rufous patterning barely discernable, his song magnified somehow by the moisture in the air.

Blueberry flowers drip rain.
Magnified by fog,
towhee sings loudly.

Eastern Towhee. Photo: Brian Willson.

Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20: Apple tree

Boughs laden with blossom,
fallen tree's trunk's
already cut and split.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 16: Maple shower

I looked out the back window a minute ago and stopped in my tracks. Big drops were falling. Was it raining? Snowing? Are those drops yellow? Stymied, and worried about my eyes, I stepped out the front door. Nothing was falling on the front walk. Around back, however, those strange drops, still falling. A very localized storm, apparently. And quiet. As I walked under the big maple, the drops began to fall softly onto my shirt: a shower of yellow maple flowers, scattered by a warm breeze.

Maple showers flowers
all over the uncut lawn,
celebrating its greening.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May 15: Ducktrap River Preserve

Led a bird walk this morning on the Ducktrap River Preserve in Lincolnville. While watching warblers forage in the poplars along the edge of a restored gravel pit, we heard a Scarlet Tanager singing in the distance, that raspy melody distinctive despite the trees between us and the bird. Further up the trail in the hemlock grove, two Barred Owls flew together from tree to tree, hooting like crazed monkeys, particularly delighting the little boy who'd joined our group. And down by the river, the long, bubbling, buzzy song of the tiny Winter Wren tells us of the stone walls winding through the woods, marking boundaries of former fields.

Trees where fields once were.
Across the green distance
red tanager sings.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 14: Vultures aloft

Emd of day: clouds roll in.
High over the mountain
eight vultures soaring.

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 13: Sunset

Home from the pizza place.
Sunset's pink reflection
flowing downriver.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

May 12: After the rain

The rain prevented my mother and I from taking a post-Mother's Day brunch walk this morning, but it stopped in time for my husband and I to get in a pre-dinner walk this evening. As we walked around the neighborhood, each house gave off its own odor: woodsmoke from those trying to take the edge off the evening chill; cigarette smoke from some; the scent of damp crabapple blossoms from others; and the fragrance of mown grass from many.

Wet, scattered petals
and sodden clumps of cut grass.
The calm of settling dusk.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 11: Wave

After the rain stopped late this morning, dozens of migrating birds moved through the trees in our back yard. I stood on the violet-dappled lawn and watched them for almost two hours as they flitted and fed in the new leaves above the river. Yellow-rumped Warblers were the most numerous and least shy, often flying very near me and posing very visibly. The chorus of the songs of all those birds rose to a cacophony at the peak of the wave. I let the sound wash over me as I followed each movement in the trees with my binoculars.

Heard again after a year--
Magnolia Warbler's sweet song
rises from the chorus.

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 10: Greening

A couple of days of rain and mist, and the trees in our backyard have really greened up and leafed out.

Much-needed rain falls.
Yard becomes a leafy stage
through which one crow flies.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

May 9: Massage

I got a much-needed, very rigorous deep tissue massage this afternoon at Beauty Mark Day Spa, and walked out the door afterward, into the foggy spring evening, feeling sore and a bit dazed.

After the massage,
fog blanketed my shoulders,
a weightless burden.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May 8: Pastoral

Crow calmly grazes,
surrounded by dandelions
in the green grass.

Monday, May 6, 2013

May 6: Afternoon song

Soothing, somehow--
breeze through the screen,
robin's rollicking, sunlit song.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 5: Alewives

A friend and I visited the historic fish ladder in Damariscotta Mills this morning at high tide and then again this afternoon at low tide. We were mesmerized by the undulating masses of thousands of fish, as they struggled past the gauntlet of gulls up the watery staircase and through a mill pond to eventually reach their spawning grounds in Damariscotta Lake.

Alewives head upstream
in swirling fin mandalas--
oh, to be that sure.

Self-portrait with fish

Saturday, May 4, 2013

May 4: Mayflowers

I spent several hours tramping around the greening woods of the Ducktrap River Preserve this morning. Some first spring sightings of warblers, including a beautiful sunlit view of a singing Blackburnian amid the hemlocks, and some first wildflowers, like this Trailing Arbutus.

Commonly called mayflowers, Trailing Arbutus flowers are often tucked away under its big leathery leaves. My grandmother, who would have been 99 in a few days if she were still alive, loved these best because they always bloomed in time for her birthday. And if you get down on your hands and knees and put your face close, you can smell their subtle, sweet fragrance.

It's a bit like prayer--
head down on the forest floor
sniffing the mayflower.

Trailing Arbutus blooming on the banks of the tea-brown Ducktrap River