27 July 2017 Rockport, Maine, USA 

Archive for March, 2010

Signs

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010
Eiders and gull, Rockland Breakwater, Rockland, Maine, 31 March 2010.

Eiders and gull.

This morning the rain let up at last. Fellow on the radio said March has been a record-breaking month around here, rain-wise. Water yet coursed down hills and turned trickling, tumbling streams to rushing falls. Within a few minutes of rising, I’d heard the cardinal, crows, chickadees, a song sparrow, and house finch, a robin.

View west from Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 31 March 2010.

View west from Beech Hill.

In late morning, I went with the dog to Beech Hill again, as has become our custom. En route, in a nice surprise, we passed a rural yard full of wild turkeys—must’ve been at least two dozen of them—with two or three males in full display. Wood frogs called at the base of the hill, and the sky showed hints of sun.

On the way up, as I stooped to clean up after the heeler, I didn’t notice my plastic bag had holes in it. This left a couple fingers soiled. Well, no problem: the clean, running water of the hills many rivulets afforded ample means for cleanup. In fact, I got to wading in inch-or-two-deep water, just because there’s still a kid in me somewhere. The dog, by contrast, stepped gingerly around. No mourning doves today, but several robins, chickadees singing fee-bee, a titmouse, a crow, a herring gull, a cardinal, and goldfinches. Mist cloaked the inland hills.

Long-tailed ducks, Rockland Breakwater, Rockland, Maine, 31 March 2010.

Long-tailed ducks.

A busy day at the office concluded right about the time the sun broke through. So we took a quick trip over to the breakwater. And what a spectacle. The novelty of sun brought a few other people and dogs out—but most interesting was the incredible sky. Great expanses of blue. Looming black clouds. Wisps of mist close to the water. Steam rising here and there.

I saw red-breasted mergansers, common loons, a black guillemot in winter plumage. I heard scores of long-tailed ducks, which took flight right on schedule and headed out of the harbor toward the islands. Great flocks of eiders floated on the low tide on either side. Jack got to hang out with a couple other dogs, including another red heeler—a female in heat. Got some photos of the great field of deep blue that approached from the west. This brought a few very light showers later.

A few Maine rivers are flooding. Migratory birds are stocking up on food many thousand miles away. And those who pretend to know say sun and warmth will arrive this weekend.

Black guillemot, Rockland Breakwater, Rockland, Maine, 31 March 2010.

Black guillemot.

Today’s List

Northern cardinal
American crow
Song sparrow
House finch
American robin
Black-capped chickadee
Mourning dove
Tufted titmouse
Wild turkey
Herring gull
American goldfinch
Blue jay
Rock pigeon
European starling
Mallard
Red-breasted merganser
Common loon
Common eider
Long-tailed duck
Black-guillemot

Rockland Harbor, Maine, 31 March 2010.

Rockland Harbor.

An open mind

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010
Layers of mist, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 March 2010.

Layers of mist.

Looked out first thing, saw rain. Maybe not quite as heavy as yesterday, but just as steady. The birds didn’t seem to mind much—cardinal, crow, song sparrow, titmouse, chickadee. The wind didn’t seem so antic, either. Still, quick rivulets bubbled over the blacktop of the parking lot, and sheets of water slithered down the little sloping north yard.

Dog and I headed up the open Beech Hill trail at midday. I didn’t expect much in the way of bird life, and we hiked up at a fast clip, stopping only briefly to admire the misty layers of southern distance.

Mourning doves, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 March 2010.

Mourning doves.

At the summit, stepping up into the porch of Beech Nut, we heard a rapid clattering—and a mourning dove burst from somewhere out across the east yard to alight on a branch near the head of the wooded trail. As we headed slowly in that direction so I could snap a photo, the dove flew away. But within seconds, two others suddenly exploded from a section of undergrowth and ended up on a limb nearby. Rain spattered the glass of my lens, but I got a couple photos.

On the way down, I heard blue jays. I didn’t expect blue jays.

The whole soggy experience got me thinking about expectations—or the lack thereof. The concept of an open mind. After years of hunting for particular quarry that as often as not stays away, I’ve come to learn to stand facing whatever there is to face, doing whatever there is to do, and accepting whatever curiosity presents itself. Today’s lovely doves were a fitting example of the fruits of this phenomenon—that no matter what you might expect, life most often occurs as a sweet surprise.

I hear no wood frogs tonight (as I did a couple nights ago but forgot to mention). Instead I hear fog whistles and the roar of the brook along the hill to the north a ways. Light rain spatters down still. All the world is liquidity.

Today’s List

Northern cardinal
American crow
Song sparrow
Tufted titmouse
Black-capped chickadee
House finch
American robin
Herring gull
Mourning dove
Blue jay
Rock pigeon

Rugosa, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 March 2010.

Gone-by rugosa hips.

Rain

Monday, March 29th, 2010
Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 March 2010.

Beech Hill.

Awoke to a gray, wet world. A steady rain fell. The rush of car tires swept loudly by. A cardinal called. A mourning dove. A song sparrow. Crows. Robins and a house finch across the road.

Stream, Beech Hill trail, Rockport, Maine, 29 March 2010.

Stream, Beech Hill trail.

At midday—despite the rain’s increasing insistence—dog and I walked the wooded Beech Hill trail. I slipped and slid a half dozen times on mud at least as greasy as slushy snow. Neither saw nor heard a single bird on the hill. We ended up soaked and mud-spattered, but it was fun.

By afternoon, the wind picked up. Both my trash cans blew over, and we enjoyed an astronomical high tide.

Later, I drove to town. Caught sight of a small flock of robins, four dabbling ducks in overflight, herring gulls.

Tonight, the rain grew steadier still. Water cascaded down the hill out back and flooded the little side yard. I can’t help but think how green it’ll be in a week or two. Or three.

Today’s List

Northern cardinal
Mourning dove
Song sparrow
American crow
American robin
House finch
Dabbling duck (spp?)
Herring gull

 
Bird Report is an intermittent record of what's outside my window in Rockport, Maine, USA (44°08'N latitude, 69°06'W longitude), and vicinity. —Brian Willson



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