[Tweeters] Morning symphony

Rob Sandelin nwnature1 at gmail.com
Thu May 28 05:52:04 PDT 2015

At 4:06 its still dark, the moon has set in the west and the very first song of the morning drifts through the still air. It’s the ChBek call of the Western Tanager. A few minutes later the soft, Whit whit of Swainson’s Thrush joins in. A song sparrow begins tuning up and by 4:15 the Robins have woken up and added their considerable voices to the mix. The Wilsons warblers are adding a rhythmic pulse to the music. By 4:30 the symphony is at its peak, each singer belting out their contribution. It’s LOUD and it takes considerable concentration to pick out the individual voices. I am standing on the boardwalk trail through our wetland and in addition to the many bird voices there is a loud crunching sound coming from the tangled thicket of Sprirea, Willow and Salmonberry. As I peer into the gloom trying to find who is eating what there is movement and around the corner of the boardwalk comes a Coyote with a Rabbit in its mouth. The predator trots along getting closer and closer until at 12 feet it finally notices me and stops, no doubt in shock. It looks left and right but there is no escape other than to return the way it came. I image since it is carrying prey it must have a den somewhere not too far. The idea pleases me greatly as there has been an explosion of Eastern Cottontail in our neighborhood. The all you can eat Rabbit buffet is open.

By 4:45 things are quieting down and the Swainsons start swirling their wonderful spiraling lifting songs. I move through the forest and hear the Pacific slope flycatchers and the Pacific wrens. In the community garden the towhees, song sparrows and Tanagers dominate, with color added by the flute-like notes of the Black-headed grosbeak. By 5am the concert is still lively but much reduced as, one by one, the musicians head out to their day jobs.

Rob Sandelin

Naturalist, Writer and insomniac

Snohomish county, WA

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