Friday, May 17, 2013


We live half a mile from the Pawcatuck River, but I'd never seen a kingfisher on the property until today.  At dusk I was burning some brush in the fire circle and the bird came flying in circles over our yard - making the racket that excited kingfishers make.  It lit in one of the oak trees and continued to call out in its squawkish rattle.

A gray tree frog began answering the call.  (I think the gray tree frog's call and the belted kingfisher's rattle have a rhythm in common).  As soon as it heard the frog, the kingfisher's crest flared up and it glared downward in the direction of the sound.  They called back and forth for a minute before the bird flew up into the moonlit gloaming and noisily made its way back toward the river.

I returned to breaking up the branches of forsythia and maple and sassafras that form the brush pile.  Our pair of bats were out, maybe keeping the mosquitos in check until more dragonflies can arrive.  Nico and his friend Sam were running in the yard, battling with foam swords.  Loud thwackings and laughter.  I told them how we used to spit up into the air when the bats were close to get them to mistake our spit for moths - because I think boys should know about such things.