Goldfinch males are acquiring their golden coats, but in the process they are mottled and look disheveled, not unlike what some people look like when just out of bed in the morning.

The raspy, rough song of the phoebe is welcome. Not many birds emitting such a screechy racket inspire as much fondness. It’s a bit on the drab side, but nonetheless lovable for that, too.

The song sparrow’s song is quite distinctive, but the performers differ from one another more than among most birds. John James Audubon wrote that, “Though its attire is exceedingly plain, it is pleasing to hear,” but this is not right: Just take a close look and you’ll see that they are elegant and well-dressed.

The little well-named fungus called scarlet cup is up. It’s amazingly bright, a deep glowing red. Some people eat these little darlings but they are small and opinions differ as to their flavor. In days gone by they were used as table decorations. They do a good job at decorating the forest floor in April.

It’s still pretty cold and there are no wild leeks, no false hellebore, but just at the margin of the melting snowpack, sugar maple seeds are germinating.

Along the Connecticut River, just a few miles away and just 300 feet downhill from home, it’s all different. I went birding with some birders but was most enamored of the hackberries, bitternut hickories, blooming red maples, and a busy muskrat along the river. Might not get invited again. Yes, there were birds, some that we are likely to see here upstream in a week or so.

A few days ago it was one goose, then two geese, and now geese all day, both overhead and in a nearby beaver pond.

Mosses are greening up and tree trunks are the brightest things around now. Lobaria pulmonaria, a three-kingdom symbiotic organism consisting of a fungus, an algal partner, and a cyanobacteria, is common among the mosses on trees. It’s also known as tree lungwort and is big and fairly easy to ID.