Monday, February 7, 2011

Winter Update #6: When It Rains, It Pours

Feb 1-7, Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, MA
mix of more snow, freezing rain, and a slight thaw

Much to report - it's been a full week of birds, composing, and animal sightings.

First of all, Happy Lunar New Year!
Last Thursday marked the start of the Year of the Rabbit for us Chinese folks, and my New Year's Eve was marked by a sighting, under freezing hail, of a grey bunny rabbit mosey-ing across a snowbank outside the train station. In 5 years in Boston, I've never seen a rabbit outdoors, wild, feral or otherwise. An unusual (and surely good) omen!

On Saturday, my morning amble was most notable for encountering a skunk scampering up the icy path in the Arboretum, then slinking under the gate to the Rose Garden. Queries with the dogwalkers who came up the path confirmed that nobody had lost a pet skunk, and that I am not starting to have strange animal hallucinations. Most strange!

Yesterday's bird of the day was a giant Canadian Goose who sat silently, all alone, on a bank of snow by the softball field at Jamaica Pond. I could see its tracks leading from the icy sidewalk to this seemingly random "roost" just a few yards from the bustling Jamaicaway. No other geese as far as the eye could see. Was it injured? I couldn't tell, and it didn't respond to my questioning.

Today I was excited about two things: catching a gorgeous pre-dawn show (alternating streaks of grey-blue clouds over brilliant pink backdrop) and testing out my new binoculars! Yes, it took a few months, but I am finally equipped to call myself a birder.

Today's bird is a tufted titmouse whose repetitive calls have been filling the winter soundscape at the Arboretum.

Perhaps Mr. Titmouse has been sub-consciously influencing my music: my composition on Friday evolved from a single repeated pitch, though I was not consciously imitating him.

Here is a rough cut of Friday's composition (please forgive electric keyboard sound!):


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