Last night at dusk I join a friend at Coogan Farm for the mating flights of the woodcocks.
It's a howling, still-winter night and there are only patches of open ground amid the snow. Still, as the orange sky above Mystic turns magenta and then blackly purple, the woodcocks begin to make their rapid flights. Wing feathers whistle in a high-pitched twitter. They rocket back to their staging areas, and invisible on the ground, nasal 'peeeeeeent's buzz out above the rushing wind - calling to any females nearby on this cold night - to come and admire, to watch them strut and to take a mate.