'Snow starting in 12 minutes'
It’s 28 and most things are shut down. A snowstorm was supposed to have arrived by now, but everything’s still gray.
At 7:08, I can hear the American Robin singing, as if we’ve cycled back three weeks.
Four minutes after, from the gloom by 10th Street, the ‘seep’ of an American Tree Sparrow, three times. Odd early entry.
Keeping Pennsylvania Chill
TR sounds off harshly from his roost area, then looms overhead, huge looking, straight to some downtown perch, all croaks.
Right after, the sparrow again. It must be on some fruit tree, but I never do see it. The type of out-of-place bird that comes around before a snowstorm?
The Coors Light truck idles across from me, waiting for the light. It’s emblazoned with ‘Keeping Pennsylvania Chill.’ Accuweather reminds me now, at 7:22, that snow will start in just five minutes.
The American Robin keeps up its melody.
Sounds of Silence
Right before the half-hour, a White-throated Sparrow does its agitated call from the brush across the river, barely audible. This is one I’ve not heard in quite awhile.
The House Finch is a bit late today, 7:31, and arriving to a different spot, again across the river.
Then the Black-capped Chickadee calls, overlapping with a trill I’ve not heard from my balcony for weeks: a Carolina Wren. It’s faint, and that’s what I had wrong yesterday. They’re still around this corner of the hotspot, but I can only hear them when a hole opens in the wall of noise at just the right time. For this wren, the White-throated Sparrow, and the Winter Wren again today, it’s the serendipity of school closing and a general reduction of other traffic as travel is avoided at all cost.
At 7:36, then: snow to start in 25 minutes. Gray resolves itself to brown.
All the way to 7:38 and the only thing I’ve seen go up into the air was the Common Raven over my head. Two minutes after, a pair of Rock Pigeons ascends, but they’re all this species has to offer today. No commuters through the Gap.
Return of the Robins
After an insignificant hiatus, this species is back. One zigzags down and alights in the tall poplar at 7:41; at 7:43, 15 starlings arrive from out of town, fast and in tight formation. A juvenile Bald Eagle skims the treetops on Brush Mountain, coming from the Gap.
In all this expectant stillness, still without a flake, no other bird is flying.
7:56 AM. ‘Snow, heavy at times, starting in 21 minutes.’
Sometime during the 8 o’clock hour, the snow finally does arrive, dense dry stuff that brings the robins and starlings out in swarms. The rest of the day, these are all about town, using the sycamores and willows outside my balcony as a principal roost spot. In the thickest of it, the robins fly about.
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