Up close the branches still look bare, and against the dove-gray clouds you get stark branches with silhouettes of a great flock of birds, all perched in four or five trees, to take them all.
Other birds -- well, the branches are bare, so they must be small and brown. You can tell there must be an enormous flock only by the barrage of twitters flooding out of a tree.
The stream down in the valley is in full spate if not perhaps in flood. All the water is the muddy brown, and it's all but engulfed the swampy island between two channels. You can tell where the island is by the dead brown cattails, and by the want of ripples, except in one section, a stretch of water is flowing merrily over it from one channel to the other.
Then, a couple of mallards were not a foot away from that stretch and even closer to the channel, resting on the island despite the flood; the drake sitting there stretching a wing on occasion, the duck with her head tucked back, sound asleep.