I was out this perfect day by 6:30 because Bruce was still sleeping, and it was Sunday–his day to make breakfast. I brewed my coffee, slipped on my walking shoes, left a note for Bruce and was off, coffee mug clutched in one hand.
Bluebirds sang in the yard and field sparrow song reverberated in First Field. But I chose the woods and the moss-covered Dump Trail, even though it seemed disappointedly quiet and empty and no birds sang. Before I reached Laurel Ridge Trail, I stopped and sat on a fallen log to watch a couple white-breasted nuthatches foraging on nearby trees.
Then a deer snorted over and over in the woods beyond Laurel Ridge Trail. I couldn’t see it, but I assumed it had caught my scent. I remained motionless and it finally stopped snorting. Still I sat, and suddenly an animal loped past on Laurel Ridge Trail.
“Coyote,” I thought and after it passed I jumped up and ran to the trail, looking up to where I could see its drooping, long, black-tipped tail and backside disappearing over the top of the steep hill. Judging by its size, I figured it was a male, and realized that it was on April 14, 1999 that a big male coyote had walked silently up to me as I had sat on the Far Field Road Bench, worried about my aging father who had fallen and broken his hip. At the time the long look I exchanged with the coyote had seemed almost like a revelation, and I had renamed the bench Coyote Bench. But it has been several years since I have seen a coyote and again it seemed like a revelation.
I walked on to the spruce grove, and as I started up through the trees, a female sharp-shinned hawk flew out of the treetops protesting in her mild way. She joined the male who was perched on a tree branch at the edge of the woods. So once again, for the fourth year in a row, they are nesting in the spruce grove.
Two wonderful sightings before 7:00. “Sunday, sweet Sunday,” I sang to myself, and then I remembered–It’s Earth Day!