It didn’t live up to its billing. With the wind high but not hurricane force, I went ahead and slept where I usually do, in a bed in a room that the gigantic oak would crush were it to topple in a storm. It didn’t topple. It hardly even snowed—or at least accumulated. A few sparse, thin patches of slush are all I encountered when Jack and I headed out first thing. Crows about. I noticed. Didn’t notice any other birds.
Swing and a miss.
Much of the rest of the day I spent working to fix this fidgety computin’ machine. The trackpad keeps thinking I mean to click when I don’t. Annoying.
But I got a little done, too. And after a while the sun came out. So dog and I took a little drive.
It was quite a little snowier just a couple miles inland: a couple or three inches had fallen on Beech Hill. Interestingly, we found a car parked in the lot—and at least a dozen human tracks headed up and down the open trail. Caught sight of a chickadee right away and heard the distinctive chip note of a white-throated sparrow. As we headed up, we beheld slopes white with wet snow. That was a switch, what with fall leaves still poking through. No yellow-rumps for a change. No crows that I could see (or hear). No jays.
But it was a nice, brisk hike. Wintry. I stopped to check for coots at the lake, and there they were again.
At the summit we met a couple with a dog named Alice, but we didn’t linger. Headed back down. Briskly, into an insistent westerly wind. No sparrows along the trailsides, just a lovely view of the hills. I moved a few wind-fallen limbs and cleared off the boardwalks.
Turning out of the lot, I spotted a small bird flitting away from the road. Sparrow? Junco? I couldn’t tell. Swing and a miss.
And coming down Route 1 near home, I caught sight of a water bird flapping crazily away in the still-blue sky. Black duck? Cormorant? Too far away to say.
Swing and a miss. Strike three.
Tonight the wind’s still high. The temperature’s in the 30s (F). And the stars are winking brightly in a wintry-seeming sky.
Beech Hill List
Beginning at 4:30 p.m., I hiked the open trail.
1. Black-capped chickadee
2. White-throated sparrow
3. American coot
4. American crow
5. Herring gull