Now the parade of northbound migrants has pretty much moved on, from palm warbler to blackpoll. Meaning the month of rolling opportunity is mostly over—getting up at 6 am in the hope of nailing a Blackburnian or an indigo bunting—and so are all those little detonations of hard-earned or dumb-luck reward: Hearing that Sweet-sweet, chew-chew... (indigo song!)... spotting movement in a tree, around ten o'clock, between two bare branches...and seeing it! bright turquoise blue, in full sun... Thank you.
(It's not completely over. Just today, in Belmont's Rock Meadow, I saw my first brown thrashers, posted up in two treetops, delivering their paired imitations like crazily disciplined catbirds.)
But what is also mostly over is seeing birds as celebrities, or as names and numbers on a checklist, which gets wearying after a while.
I know there are plenty worse agenda for a day than tallying flycatchers, and I know keeping track of numbers is important to bird conservation. But it will be a relief not to tally or stalk at all. To appreciate the homies again: the downies, the nuthatches, the tufted titmice, the mourning doves. And to listen to birds not to find them but to hear what they're saying, and watch them not to record them but to see what they're doing.
At least for a while.