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I was stomping through the woods yesterday because the sun was out.

This is so rare in Portland this season that I stopped writing just to fling my too-pale body outdoors.

Flinging and stomping are not the best combination for a heart-pumping hike in the woods.

My husband stopped me, mid-stomp.

“Look at the hawks! Can you see their red tails?”

Two hawks were riding the thermals, in perfect tandem.

They almost looked choreographed, their flight was so well-matched.

The sun was so bright (and we were so unaccustomed to it) that the light shone through their tail feathers, displaying that brownish-red for which these hawks are named.  The light outlined their colors distinctly, and we could discern cream-mocha-chocolate markings in their feathers.

It was good to stop stomping.  It was great to watch what we believed were mates in mid-air.

We were grateful to have time to enjoy the sun and watch the dance of red-tailed hawks.  Then, we realized there were three.  One had been hidden from our view by the thick canopy.

A family? A menage a trois? Three buddies?

I’m grateful for the sudden arrival of the sun, grateful for a long hike in the forest, and grateful for all the birds that join us at Forest Creek.

I’m grateful for all the migrating ducks that have graced our pond in pairs this season: mallards, wood ducks, hooded Mergansers, Canada geese, ruddy ducks, and the always comical buffleheads.  They’re my favorites; their top-heavy heads make for lopsided dives.

I’m grateful for the graceful pair of loons that stayed only a few days. They lacked the mournful song of the loons I loved in Canada, yet their “checkerboard” markings were lovely.

And I’m grateful for our cranky heron (we nicknamed him Cheney for his grumpiness).  With all these new arrivals in couples, we haven’t seen him much.

Guess he’s off looking for a mate too.

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