We set out for a walk around the block just before dawn this morning. Welcoming the official start of spring on this day - the Vernal Equinox. Just past 6:00 am the setting moon still loomed large and bright on the horizon. We needed no other light to guide our way. All was quiet, except for the early birds.
Robins, cardinals, and woodcock were all singing before first light. The woodcock took top honors with the most creative song and dance. We flushed one from a neighbor's yard. It flew in a big circle around us then landed again on the lawn at the edge of a shrub thicket. We saw the woodcock - his long bill, short legs and plumb body -- in silhouette as he fluttered past in the pre-dawn light. Because woodcock are only active at dawn and dusk, when it is nearly too dark to see them, and then spend the day quiet and well-camouflaged in alder thickets, most people never see them. Too bad - they are such a cool looking bird.
A full chorus of birds could be heard after sunrise. Brown creepers and nuthatches. Goldfinches and titmice and chickadees. A mourning dove. A warm, sunny day in spring is no time to be inside. Nature is sprouting and awakening before our eyes.