Suddenly, the birds evaporate. The hawk red shouldered or red tailed? has perched itself on a nest box I nailed to the stump of a white oak I axed in the spring. I leave my perch to get closer. He doesn't move. I believe if I attached a nest box to my face he would land there, too.

Women Canada Goose Trillium Parka White Melbourne

As if the hawk gives a "coast is clear" sign, birds return to the feeder more wrens, nuthatches, a black capped chickadee and below on the ground munching sunflower husks, a pair of mourning doves, or "morning" doves, as I used to call them.

A bird view from the backyard

7. Trail mixThere's a very tall and very dead tulip poplar at the edge of my backyard. When it falls, it will fall backward toward the creek. Until then, a vine of extraordinary resolve has snaked its way up its branches and seemingly is the only force holding up the tree. On a twisted, dead branch is a hawk. We will spend the day together.

The feeder, wearing out at the hinges, is frantic with perching birds. A blue jay, the class bully, crash lands and scatters the lesser citizens in the pecking order. I like cardinals more than jays, but I don't know whom to formally file this observation with.

On the bird feeder are two wrens, one female cardinal, a juvenile tufted titmouse, and also pecking madly at the sunflowers, a black and white warbler. A first sighting. Field guide says the black and white warbler, though, is common in deciduous woods. That's the backyard in a nutshell: deciduous woods.

I need nourishment because relaxing is taxing, and I'm starting to make rhymes, which is madness. I drink water and eat trail mix, which could double as birdseed. I'm joined for snack time by the hawk. He swoops off the stump and snags and gobbles worms in the ground. The bird book suggests the hawk is "immature," which accounts for his brazen disrespect. The hawk, his head pivoting as if enduring an exorcism, resettles on the nest box. He's no bald eagle, but he's the grandest flying machine I've seen in these parts.

(Steps away, inside, the business of a household: a basement soaked from foundation cracks; an upstairs bathroom, Women Canada Goose Trillium Parka White Melbourne featuring a broken toilet seat, that three college educated children still use. Apparently there was an altercation between human and seat.)

I feel like working even though I'm supposed to be relaxing (is there a more slippery, aggravating concept than relaxation?). I start identifying the birds I've noticed for 20 years in the backyard. The obvious visitors: blue jay, cardinal, eastern bluebird, goldfinch, mockingbird, American crow, turkey vulture, Canada goose, red bellied woodpecker, robin, house sparrow and the like. I list 26 birds. One bird I've never seen is a Baltimore Oriole.

I wake up in another day. Oh, the date is the same, but it's another day. The angled sun cast late summer light over the backyard. Tree shadows and frisky insects and two swooping fruit bats for company. The others the perching birds and tenant hawk have quieted.

Later in the day, a racket ensues on the dead poplar. A pileated woodpecker, fat footed and cocky to beat all, appears intent on felling the old tree himself. The bird book says this woodpecker is much less common than the red bellied woodpecker. I log the pileated woodpecker and add an asterisk. This kind of scrupulous bird watching should be rewarded with a hammock nap, but who can sleep amid all this wood pecking and worm eating and blue jay squawking?

There's a bird feeder 20 feet from camp, a house/hopper feeder with a baffle for thwarting squirrel advances. The baffle is a magnificent invention. One should be designed for humans to be attached to one's abdomen to ward off pests and to be allowed to eat and perch in peace. Not a keen fashion look but just an idea.