The Sounds of Summer are here… 

In these uncertain times, taking a short hike in the Greenway can help us recharge and temporarily block out the daily challenges we are facing.  Just stepping onto the trail you begin to see the sights of the emerging brilliant green Douglas Fir tips and the pinkish-purple petals of the Salmonberry flowers.  Your mind begins to take in these sights as you navigate from meadow, to the edges of wetlands, to the forest.   Once inside, the smells of the cool dark forest floor begin to transform you into a more relaxed state.  At times you pass by a spot where the sunlight pierces the canopy and warms the surrounding air.  Deeper into the forest, you begin to hear the sounds of the birds singing in the tree canopy.  One of those birds, the Swainson’s Thrush, is very common in the Greenway and fills the forest with its upward-spiraling, flutelike song.  It is a bird that is often heard, but rarely seen.  It is smaller than a robin with a russet-colored back and speckled front, making it disappear when in the canopy or on the forest floor where it feeds on insects.  The Swainson’s Thrush has two distinctive sounds, the flutelike song and a sharp, high-pitched “drip….drip…drip” which seems to be coming from a branch within reach in one second and then two trees away in the next.  Often the sounds follow you as you continue down the trail, hoping to catch a fleeting glimpse.  Soon the “drip…drip…drip” sound is replaced with an amazingly beautiful song with trills and spirals that fills the forest with a concert and lets you know that Summer is here.    

So, next time you are in the Greenway, listen for the Swainson’s Thrush and try to see if you can catch a glimpse….

By Michael Szerlog