Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 64: Bamboo Forest

Bussey Brook Meadow, Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, MA, 7:15am-8:15am
grey variegated overcast, frosty

Groggy and late this morning, I cannot tell you whether the sunrise was visible today or not. Hoping for my sake it wasn't!

As I trudged through the BB Meadow, I was concerned by the relative quiet and wondered if the birds had finally thrown in the towel to the ever-colder weather. Or if I was just too late in the morning for the usual dawn bustle.

The fun part of the cold is that it's made the whole meadow more accessible : a lot of the marshy areas are frozen over now, and I was able to get the back country view.

Unfortunately, frozen rushes are just as loud, if not louder, than dry leaves and twigs, and every time I aim for a bird-y direction, the chatterers have relocated by the time I get there.

I resolve to wait it out by the (dead) bamboo forest, a thickly-clustered stand of dessicated yellow bamboo. When I get there, I am delighted to spot a downy woodpecker, whose black and white spots, white belly, and flash of red on the head are striking against the monochromatic tan color of the bamboo.

It's much easier to spot the birds against this light backdrop, I realize, as opposed to the dark branches, leaves, and variable sky of my usual observations. As I cautiously edge forward, I find a trio of sparrows, also more clearly visible than I'm used to.

The highlight, and the Bird of the Day award, goes to the second Downy Woodpecker I see, who shows off the variety of percussive timbres he can get out of a flimsy stalk of bamboo.

When another wood-(bamboo)-pecker displaces my Bird, he does a complete flight circuit around me, stopping en route at a tree branch next to my head to drill a bit, and demonstrate the difference in tone.

It's exciting to be circled at such close range by the same bird, and to see him in various kinds of action, including a funny moment of extreme puffiness when he's on the tree branch. Maybe it was colder there than in the protected bamboo.

At home, I jot down an idea for a loop-based tune using various "pecking" patterns and sounds.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home