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Creek Running North

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March 15, 2004

In place

The sky behind Tamalpais was violet and black tonight. Mosquito hawks hovered around my feet as I walked the path to the truck. The air seemed moist, and still held warmth it had soaked in during the long day.

At Baxter Creek, the chorus frogs were singing, sharp and brilliant. Chorus frogs are shy, sometimes. All but one stopped singing as I walked past. The one that kept singing was almost at my feet.

Last night as I waited for the coals to turn gray in the starter chimney, I sat and watched vermilion ribbons of cloud back-lit by the sun. If they were mountains, it would have been alpenglow. A clear cry from my right: it was a white-tailed kite, the first one I've seen this year, heading for the neighborhood roost in the pines at the end of the next block.

I don't think I've ever known the birds in a neighborhood so well, and I've lived in about twenty other neighborhoods. I realized one recent morning that I was half-consciously identifying a belted kingfisher from a half-mile away, barely more than a black smudge against the sky, because that black smudge was sitting on a wire across the creek where the kingfisher always sits. Two weeks ago I pointed out a Nuttall's woodpecker to a neighbor in the park, and he said "yeah, he's there every year."

The barn owl is out again as well, his soft clicks filling the night sky.

Posted by Chris Clarke at March 15, 2004 09:13 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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It's nice to notice your avian neighbors. Because we live so far north, we have seasonal visitors (although there are quite a few year-round inhabitants) that mark the beginning and ending of the seasons. Signs of summer for me are red-wing blackbirds in the swamps, and evening grosbeaks (really a finch on steroids) at the feeders, and of course the hummers.

Right now the feeders draw a host of chickadees, not very afraid of humans, and titmice, and even some goldfinches, plus red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatches.

Posted by: Robert at March 16, 2004 06:19 AM
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Knowing one place well-- is it a luxury, or a necessity? Fortunate we are to find it either way.

Posted by: fredf at March 20, 2004 01:08 PM
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