April 15, 1856

in Thoreau’s Journal:

6.30 a. m. —To Hill. It is warmer and quite still; somewhat cloudy in the east. The water quite smooth, –April smooth waters.

I hear very distinctly Barrett’s sawmill at my landing. The purple finch is singing on the elms about the house, together with the robins, whose strain its resembles, ending with a loud, shrill, ringing chilt chilt ehilt chilt. I push across the meadow and ascend the hill. The white-bellied swallows are circling about and twittering above the apple trees and walnuts on the hillside. Not till I gain the hilltop do I hear the note of the Fringilia juncorum (huckleberry-bird) from the plains beyond. Returned again toward my boat, I hear the rich watery note of the martin, making haste over the edge of the flood. A warm morning, over smooth water, before the wind rises, is the time to hear it. Near the water are many recent skunk probings, as if a drove of pigs had passed along last night, death to many beetles and grubs. From amid the willows and alders along the wall there, I hear a bird sing, a-chitter chitter chitter chitter chitter chitter, che che che che, with increasing intensity and rapidity, and the yellow redpoll hops in sight. A grackle goes over (with two females), and I hear from him a sound like a watchman’s rattle, ––but little more musical