09 November 2009

Subtle Symphony in a Glade of the Autumn Woods

Whilst walking among the woods in autumn times, it is sublime on a fine morning when the bugs are gone. The cavalcade of birds has changed from the dynamos of summer to visitants for the cold times of the year.

The woods are restrained in their presentation. Trees are bare of their former seasonal glory. The scene seems to be almost without any birdly vitality to observe and appreciate!

Continuing along, pronounced by noisy steps atop the fallen leaves, the interlude conveys its own natural wonder beneath a subdued sky, partially masked by clouds of varying characters, filtering the shine of a brilliant sun.

Atop a snag, the first birdly wonder is recognized as the proclamation of the vivacious Red-bellied Woodpecker. Heard once, this bird always expresses its presence once more and perhaps again.

Suddenly along the way, the happy whistles of some Black-capped Chickadee indicate it is time to stop and watch their subtle antics imbued among the twiglets of the barren trees.

What a fine quartet perform together is certainly a rare occasion!

Across the way along the waters of the silent creek, with a rare and faint purl, robins are throwing about fallen foliage in their foraging for a bit of a tasty morsel. They speak in expressive, sharp calls among the understory.

Vividly in this small place - based on expectations and recognition - a chattering of notes is heard from among the trunks and branches of former giants of the woods along the creek. It is the expressive Winter Wren, which always lets a visitor know its view of a human intruder. Only be looking closely can it be visually noted.

A few steps further along the subtle trail is a morning dove near a brook with its spring-water origins, which is a fine shelter for the season.

As the route of the day was one-way, with a return to the same place of origin, there was no circular route so the steps went back where they had already traversed.

There were no expectations. It seemed the woods had only a few species present on this November day. Each bit of feathered fluff was appreciated.

Suddenly among the towering trees there erupted a subtle symphony of bird calls.

Brown Creepers with their quiet whistle were the first encountered with their subtle musical expression. There was not just one being expressive as it hopped upwards for bugs along the bark of a barren tree. Others were in the surrounding trees. One would fly to a tree where a second creeper would dart away to a different arboreal trunk. There was another over there. They were actively interacting in their quest.

The call of the creepers was the first stanza. In the glade of the woods, a low pitched whistle could be heard. "Look over hear," the musical trill seemed to express to the foreign bird watcher. "Here I am." It was a Golden-crowned Kinglet, bouncing about the thin branches of some shrubs.

The species identification could not be missed, as the crown of this kinglet was the brightest color in the woods, much more vivid than the empty brown colors of the leaves, lying on the ground.

Other birds joined in the creeper and kinglet chorus.

In the heights of the trees, the lilt of the golden finch was added as it jaunted from place to place. Then again, was the chatter of the Winter Wren, bouncing around the dead-fall of a bit of woods where the only tinge of green were fallen stalks of the poke-weed plants.

A Downy Woodpecker proclaimed its place on the timber where some tasty morsel could be found with its particular attention, accompanied by a steady beat of discovery.

Among these moments there came a pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches, dramatically announcing in their way that the deciduous woods were the current haven, rather than the conifers just to the west. Usually just one of these nuthatches had been heard on previous occasions, but on this day, the pair was together, speaking in unison.

The interlude continued to be drawn further along in what was just a relatively short expanse of measured time.

Chirping a short distance away was another wren. The Carolina Wren, a regularly expressive resident of late, was quiet for the moment as it moved among the woods doing its daily task of looking for groceries.

The sudden raucous call of the Blue Jay, was the final crescendo. Once this mighty note was heard, the woods were silent as they presence evanesced away.

It was not the end of the stint for this serenade of bird music. It would only be some time later that the Carolina Wren would loudly proclaim its presence in a crescendo to end an interlude of a musical morning with some birds in the woods. There were other notes detected, but the grand finale of the jay, ending a few minutes of symphonic bird song, could not be surpassed.

Thus ended the morning's interlude in the urban woods.

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