Pennsylvania Game News - July 2017 - 62
Although birdsong dwindles in July, I
listened in the forest to the dawn singing
and calling of ovenbirds, red-eyed vireos,
scarlet tanagers, eastern towhees, Acadian flycatchers, eastern wood-pewees,
and hooded and black-throated green
warblers. In the fields and yard, I heard
common yellowthroats, song and field
sparrows, indigo buntings, northern cardinals, Carolina wrens, cedar waxwings
and gray catbirds.
One charmed morning, I was serenaded by a chorus of wood thrushes as I
walked down our road. The music echoed
in the outdoor cathedral of hundred-yearold trees looming overhead.
I gave a silent prayer of thanks for their
songs and hoped I would live to hear them
On that same dawn walk, I startled
two does and two fawns standing in our
stream. The fawns disappeared up the
road bank, while the does remained,
watching me for a few seconds before
following their offspring.
I also found a black rat snake
At first I thought
it was dead, but
as I stood above it, it twitched its tail
and curled up, looking as fierce as
it could manage. I stepped carefully
around it and continued on my way.
Later, after the sun's red disk shone
through the trees and I retraced my steps,
the snake had vanished.
Not all days were steamy. Early in the
month, I devoted several cooler mornings
to taking our 11-year-old granddaughter
Elanor on our longer trails, several of
which she had never hiked.
She and her parents soon would head
off to their new lives in Arizona, and I
didn't want her to forget the green lushness of a Pennsylvania summer.
On one such walk, several almostgrown turkey poults flew up in front of us.
On another, I pointed out blooming
rhododendron, wild hydrangea, wood
nettle and black cohosh along the road.
But Elanor was most impressed by
the abundance of cottontails in our yard.
Bruce and I grew accustomed to sitting
on our veranda chairs without speaking
or moving as rabbits and chipmunks crept
closer and closer.
One morning, after I returned from my
walk at 6:30, we sat there silently gazing at
First Field. A long-tailed weasel emerged
from beneath a forsythia bush next to the
veranda and started toward the chipmunk
burrow in the lawn. When I turned to
Bruce to see if he noticed the weasel, it
dashed back the way it had come.
We remained silent, and a few seconds
later, it ran onto the end of the veranda.
Again I turned to Bruce, and again the
weasel retraced its steps. This time it
didn't come back. Bruce didn't see it
This happened the day after my birthday, and I was grateful for my belated gift