Above Kessy's eager tugging and munching on her breakfast hay I heard a "pip-pip-pip." Settled in my Coffee Clutch chair, Saturday curled on my feet, I was enjoying my first cup this bright and cheery, yet cold 28 degree morning. Today was the first day this fall I'd donned long-johns and insulated coveralls, sparkling sunbeams danced on the thick morning frost. Chickens and their winter guests, the Juncos busily hopped and scratched together at the cracked corn. Today a wary rabbit huddled off to the side nibbling corn, too, but scurried into the brush when Mr. Guinea decided that was his breakfast and charged the rabbit, wings wide in a threatening display.
Still chuckling at bossy guinea I heard that, "pip-pip-pip" again. I tried to zero in on the direction it came from, but Kessy's chomping seemed louder than normal, and even with a cupped hand behind my ear I could not. Two Cardinals and about a dozen doves joined the chickens and Juncos for a breakfast buffet. Mr. Rabbit returned, too and I suppose it was a coincidence that a squirrel joined him – Or did Rabbit bring him along for defense against Mr. Guinea?
It's not uncommon to have such a busy breakfast feast at the 3 grain smorgasbord, but usually they take turns. I reckon they were all running on empty after last night's temperature dip. It was, after all, chilly enough to keep Tigger and Miss Kitty in the house this morning.
Once again I heard, "pip-pip-pip," and once again Kessy's munching made it difficult to identify, or even get a handle on the direction from where it came. I poured a refill from my thermos, and steaming cup in hand, set out to identify our mystery guest. But of course it would help if whomever it was would, "Pip up again" … Get it, "Pip up?" I thought that was funny …
I stationed myself just outside the barn and stood leaning on the door jamb next to Kessy. In a few seconds it called again. "pip-pip-pip," again Kessy's chomping kept me from hearing clearly where, and who? So, seeking to distance myself from her loud chewing, I set out in the direction it seemed to come from … Of course Saturday and Kessy felt the need to tag along. How am I going to sneak up on a reclusive bird with an entourage of a beagle and horse?
"Pip-pip-pip-pip" floated down from a tall pine. Years of volunteering for breeding bird surveys had trained my eyes to zero in on almost exactly where "Call Notes" come from. I must admit though, these eyes and ears are a bit rusty, and I never did a survey accompanied by a dog and horse … But locate our mystery guest I did. In fact it was two! ... Two beautiful Hermit Thrushes! What a joy! At first I'd suspected Wood Thrushes, but they are usually gone from our neck of the woods by late August.
For the next five minutes Saturday, Kessy and I tagged along as they flitted about "Pipping" from one treetop perch and then another. What a delight! ... Hermit Thrushes will winter in our area and I hope they become regular visitors to our Coffee Clutch.
If you'd like to read about the Hermit Thrush & hear their song & call notes go here - http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Hermit_Thrush/id
Have a perfect day and God Bless!