High Water and Warming Up

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Gulls watch the roaring Winooski River up close

I took some time to walk briefly after work today. I walked along the river in Winooski. I thought I might see if I could find some spring migrating birds. The river was high. It roared. I could hardly hear any birds singing until I had walked far enough away. Lots of snow is melting. There was lots of snow this winter. It will be melting for a while.

I saw a few birds–Red-Winged Blackbirds, Hairy Woodpeckers, Tufted Titmouse. The usual types. I ducked off the trail at one point to listen and look. I saw some movement by a large puddle under the silver maples. I pointed my binoculars and saw a Rusty Blackbird. Boom! That is a fine bird to see. They are more and more uncommon and I had given up on seeing one this spring. I certainly wasn’t expecting to see one today. But there it was.

I like that about birding. I go out and just hope to see something. Sometimes one bird makes it all worthwhile. That happened today. It like to see whatever I see but most of the time there is some surprise. First White Throated Sparrow of the year, or a Catbird still around in December, or a Rusty Blackbird when I had not expected to see one. The unpredictability is a gift. Not being in control makes me feel more connected to the world. Being a spectator can take away the stress of modern life. It gives me a good sense of perspective.

Tomorrow morning I will rise early and go somewhere to look and listen again. I may see nothing new. But I am sure I will see something interesting. Hopefully I will be surprised. It should be a fairly warm morning. That alone will make me feel good.

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