24 June 2017 Rockport, Maine, USA 

Archive for July, 2010

Seventh Heaven

Saturday, July 31st, 2010
Black-and-white warbler (female), Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 31 July 2010.

Black-and-white warbler (female).

Bright lovely dawn came early this morning—but a minute or two later than yesterday. And the air had a bit of a nip to it. I’d guess it was about 60 degrees (F) when Jack and I hit the wooded Beech Hill trail.

Black-throated blue warbler, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 31 July 2010.

Black-throated blue warbler.

The chill—while subtly ominous for the last day of July—seemed to discourage the deer flies, at least. Not a lot of birdsong early, but I happened to look up into the grove of young aspen that warblers like and saw a downy woodpecker poking around in the bark of a small dead trunk. While working to get a decent photo in low light, I heard voices. Mens’ voices from behind us on the trail. Soon after, we moved aside to let a rolling conversation of trail runners pass. I thought it might be bad news, bird-wise, as the birds would surely flee the talking runners; then again, the runners would clear away the invisible spider webs that usually catch me in the mouth or eyes on the way up the trail.

I like to look at the bright side.

Still, not a lot of birds while ascending—until just below the summit. Then all hell broke loose. Well, maybe not hell, exactly. More like Seventh Heaven, in fact, for a warbler-lover like me.

Eastern towhee (female), Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 31 July 2010.

Eastern towhee (female).

The past week or two I’ve learned to urge dog to go slow when we emerge from the woods into the last grassy slope below the spruce grove at Beech Nut. That’s because of the bird activity along that relatively short section of trail. Song sparrows, white-throats, yellowthroats, flickers, towhees, phoebes—perhaps a score of individuals among these species, young and old—have been flitting from thicket to low tree to trail to thicket again. So we slowed. And right away I saw, framed by greenery not twenty feet away, a handsome male black-throated blue warbler.

I spent the next five minutes, without moving a foot, working to grab photos of the black-throated blue, a black-and-white, a young chestnut-sided, a yellow warbler, and a chasing pair of chickadees. The sparrows were there, too, and the towhees. And sure enough flickers were bounding through the air up among the spruces. But seeing so many warblers in one spot—especially after seeing so few yesterday—threw me for a loop. A good loop. Seventh Heaven.

Chestnut-sided warbler (juvenile), Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 31 July 2010.

Chestnut-sided warbler (juvenile).

Coming down the open trail, we came upon small flocks of young sparrows and towhees. The chipping sparrow’s song made it five sparrow species again for this day. A hairy woodpecker was calling at the parking lot; also a wood-pewee.

Just past the main kiosk we came upon a big pile of dog shit in the trail, so I used one of Jack’s bags to collect the turds. It was the third pile of strange poop I’d collected on the hill. (I much prefer the familiar, warm offerings of Jack to the offerings of strange dogs with irresponsible owners, so strangely cold and incognito.)

Coming back up over the hill I heard a black-throated green warbler, and we flushed a mourning dove. Then, coming back down the lower wooded trail, we came upon two great crested flycatchers calling in the canopy. Been a good while since I’ve listed them.

Note: En route to the hill early, we’d passed a flock of wild turkeys. Some large, some pint-sized. It is, after all, that fledgling time of year.

Cedar waxwings, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 31 July 2010.

Cedar waxwings.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 6:30 a.m., I hiked all trails.

1. Red-eyed vireo (voice)
2. American crow
3. Black-capped chickadee
4. Eastern towhee
5. American robin
6. Downy woodpecker
7. Gray catbird
8. Common yellowthroat
9. Cedar waxwing
10. White-throated sparrow
11. Alder flycatcher (voice)
12. Black-throated blue warbler
13. Chestnut-sided warbler
14. Black-and-white warbler
15. Yellow warbler
16. Song sparrow
17. Eastern phoebe
18. Northern flicker
19. Field sparrow (voice)
20. Savannah sparrow
21. Blue jay
22. Herring gull
23. Chipping sparrow (voice)
24. Black-billed cuckoo (voice)
25. Hairy woodpecker (voice)
26. Eastern wood-pewee (voice)
27. Black-throated green warbler (voice)
28. Mourning dove
29. Hermit thrush (voice)
30. White-breasted nuthatch (voice)
31. Great crested flycatcher (voice)

Elsewhere

32. House sparrow
33. Northern cardinal
34. Wild turkey
35. Canada goose

White-throated sparrow (juvenile), Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 31 July 2010.

White-throated sparrow (juvenile).

Fine morning

Friday, July 30th, 2010
Eastern towhee (juvenile), Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 July 2010.

Eastern towhee (juvenile).

Got up before dawn this fine, fine morning to ride my bicycle up a hill in Northport. The first bird I heard was a pre-dawn robin. It was about 4 a.m.—barely any light had come to the sky. Then, during the climb, I heard thrushes and finches and doves.

Heard the same birds three hours later at Beech Hill.

Eastern chipmunk, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 July 2010.

Eastern chipmunk.

Right out of the truck, in fact, I heard five species singing: vireo, chickadee, mourning dove, crow, towhee. The day had warmed but still felt cool, and the breeze was light, the air dry. I noticed far fewer deer flies during our ascent, Jack’s and mine. (They’d somehow multiplied upon our return.) Particularly noteworthy was the distinctive, sibilent tseet! of white-throated sparrows I heard sounding all over the hill. No full Sam Peabody-peabody! song—just tseet! All over the hill. And I even saw a couple flitting in the greenery. The species doesn’t seem this shy, in my experience, until their younguns leave the nest.

Speaking of sparrows, I heard and/or saw all five again today. However, there was a dearth of warblers—I listed only yellowthroat and yellow.

Odd sightings included a vocal osprey off in the valley toward the west and a bright male cardinal flying above the eastern slope.

The usual fledglings were flitting around—towhees, sparrows, waxwings. The only disappointment was a lack of decent photos—but it’d take a lot more than that to spoil this day.

Mushroom, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 July 2010.

Mushroom.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 7 a.m., I hiked all trails.

1. Red-eyed vireo (voice)
2. Black-capped chickadee
3. Mourning dove (voice)
4. American crow
5. Eastern towhee
6. Gray catbird
7. Common yellowthroat (voice)
8. American robin
9. White-throated sparrow
10. American goldfinch
11. Cedar waxwing
12. Yellow warbler
13. Alder flycatcher
14. Herring gull
15. Field sparrow (voice)
16. Song sparrow
17. Northern flicker
18. Eastern phoebe
19. Savannah sparrow
20. Hermit thrush (voice)
21. Osprey
22. Chipping sparrow (voice)
23. Blue jay (voice)
24. Northern cardinal
25. Hairy woodpecker (voice)
26. Eastern wood-pewee (voice)
27. Black-throated green warbler (voice)

Elsewhere

28. House sparrow
29. Rock pigeon
30. Turkey vulture

Beech Nut and moon, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 July 2010.

Beech Nut and moon.

Silent for a while

Thursday, July 29th, 2010
Ruby-throated hummingbird, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 July 2010.

Ruby-throated hummingbird.

It had rained. Overcast. About 70 degrees, I’d guess, so not exactly chilly. Humid.

We hit the trail, and the deer flies hit us. No problem—we walk fast.

Savannah sparrow, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 July 2010.

Savannah sparrow.

The usual early-hike birds. A red squirrel with an acorn. (Jack is always the first to see squirrels.) Then, about half-way up: the voice of a black-billed cuckoo. The cuckoo’s voice, coming from beyond the trees in a southwesterly direction, seemed to follow us up the hill. In all we heard three singing cuckoos—or fewer, singing from different locations—and for the first time I realized just how far its subtle cu-cu-cu carries. A long way.

At the top of the wooded trails, the sky showed some blue to the west. Clearing in progress. And ahead the raspy call of an alder flycatcher. At the corner, on a piece of the little split-rail fence, a catbird. And on a bare twig beyond, a female humming bird. I saw her first in flight, hovering, then lighting on the twig. She sat there as we came around the corner. I got some photos.

American goldfinch, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 July 2010.

American goldfinch.

Eventually, I listed all five common sparrows-of-the-hill. Thought I saw a veery—a ruddy thrush in the areas where veeries sang until a week or two ago—but I couldn’t be sure. I’m sure, though, of the wood thrush singing near the end of our way back down.

Families of sparrows. A family of jays. Waxwings and towhees everywhere.

The cuckoo, hummingbird, and wood thrush were noteworthy. But also a black-and-white warbler I heard. Like the veeries, they’ve been silent for a while.

Ruby-throated hummingbird, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 July 2010.

Ruby-throated hummingbird.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 7 a.m., I walked all trails.

1. Red-eyed vireo
2. Black-throated green warbler
3. American crow
4. Black-capped chickadee
5. Eastern towhee
6. Gray catbird
7. Chestnut-sided warbler
8. American robin
9. White-throated sparrow
10. Common yellowthroat
11. Black-billed cuckoo
12. American goldfinch
13. Alder flycatcher
14. Hermit thrush
15. Cedar waxwing
16. Ruby-throated hummingbird
17. Song sparrow
18. Northern flicker
19. Eastern phoebe
20. Savannah sparrow
21. Blue jay
22. Yellow warbler
23. Black-and-white warbler
24. Tufted titmouse
25. Hairy woodpecker
26. Chipping sparrow
27. Field sparrow
28. Mourning dove
29. Eastern wood-pewee
30. Wood thrush

Elsewhere

31. House sparrow
32. Herring gull
33. Rock pigeon

Red squirrel, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 July 2010.

Red squirrel.

 
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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