24 June 2017 Rockport, Maine, USA 

Archive for February, 2011

Slushy day

Monday, February 28th, 2011
Beech Nut, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 28 February 2011.

Beech Nut.

Fog horns again this morning. Peered through the blinds and saw more snow. Or rain. No, snow. Or maybe both snow and rain. You know it’s getting late in the season when you can’t tell the difference.

Snowy trail, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 28 February 2011.

Snowy trail.

What began as wet snow and briefly became cold rain turned back into wet snow—which commenced to falling for most of the morning and on into afternoon. Crows frolicked in it. And I happened to see a gull far above the little collection of houses far across the road. Otherwise, most humans and other creatures laid just a little low today. And I can’t say as I blame ’em.

Jack and I, too. However, we did tear ourselves loose late in the day to run some errands. (Ring-bills at the grocery store.) And at last, finally, we made our way to Beech Hill.

It was 5 p.m. (ET) by the time we got there. The precipitation, which had been falling all day, suddenly let up, and a fog rolled in. I’d brought my heavy jacket, but turns out I didn’t need it. I did, however, need snowshoes.

Took two tries to make it into the parking lot. None had been there before us, as far as I could see. The trail was slush, the new snow soggy and full of water. The dripping of the trees on the lower trail was about the only sound I could hear. And so we slogged on up. Heavy going, but good exercise. With evening approaching and new wet snow everywhere, everything glowed a lovely slate blue.

Spruce, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 28 February 2011.

Spruce.

We made our own trail. It took a little effort. Jack, especially, had to bound and charge and slog. A couple times he took to following my snowshoe track. But before long we reached the summit, where Beech Nut sat impassively. You couldn’t see the bay—could barely see the lower eastern slope.

And so we turned, retraced our steps down. (Much easier for Jack.) It didn’t take us long. Then, back at the pickup, I stood listening for a moment but heard no birds. Only the faint rush of car tires and the distant whine of a snow-blower.

When we arrived home, I heard the house finches calling again, as they have been lately. In a few weeks, they’ll be warbling all day.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 5 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

No birds seen or heard on the hill today.

Elsewhere

1. American crow
2. Herring gull
3. Ring-billed gull
4. House finch

Jack on the Beech Hill trail, Rockport, Maine, 28 February 2011.

Jack on the Beech Hill trail.

Science fiction sky

Sunday, February 27th, 2011
Sun, from Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 February 2011.

Sun.

I awoke this morning to the sound of fog whistles—or fog horns, whatever you want to call them. That could mean only one thing: snow. Sure enough, an inch or two had fallen. A few light flakes still in the air. A tufted titmouse singing out there somewhere.

The trail, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 February 2011.

The trail.

On my first trip out with dog, I heard the unmistakable calls of Bohemian waxwings. I think I must’ve spooked a small flock—did not see them anywhere. But out front, I heard them again. (Still didn’t see ’em.) By then the snow let up. A herring gull flew by. The sun tried to poke through, then withdrew. Later, I sat at my desk for a good while, with Jack napping nearby.

We got up and out a little late in afternoon. Quick trip to Beech Hill. En route, three or four mallards flew rapidly above Powerhouse Hill.

None but us up there, though a few had passed before. Jack led, I snowshoed up behind him. The sky had scraps of blue in it but was mostly a ripply mass of clouds. Still, the disk of the sun shone through in the southwest, making the sky seem like some kind of sky from another planet. I paused to take a photo or two—and heard the call of a black-capped chickadee.

Beech Nut, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 February 2011.

Beech Nut.

The chickadee and a crow whose distant voice I heard near the summit were the only birds up there today. The rest was only snow, hillside, distance, sun, and science fiction sky.

Back home, I heard the resident house finches—they seem to get active late in the day.

I had an affair to attend tonight. It snowed a little more. But all in all a rather nice evening—with mallards quacking up a storm in Clam Cove.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 3:45 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Black-capped chickadee (voice)
2. American crow (voice)

Elsewhere

3. Tufted titmouse
4. Bohemian waxwing
5. Herring gull
6. Mallard
7. House finch

Birch, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 February 2011.

Birch.

Peaceful sort of quiet

Saturday, February 26th, 2011
View of Beech Nut, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 26 February 2011.

First view of Beech Nut.

The day after a good snowfall often brings the sun. Today was no exception: bright sunlight, a few high clouds, a bit of a thaw happening on the southern sides, and a little bird activity. This morning a chickadee came calling. House sparrows chirped from across the road. Crows in the vicinity, as always. And a titmouse singing his spring love song.

The trail, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 26 February 2011.

The trail.

Spent some time working, spent some time playing, did a few chores. Didn’t see many birds in town today—the usual herring gulls—and only one mallard at the Chickawaukie Lake outfall. But surely there’d be a few birds at Beech Hill.

A little wind from the west. A car along the road. Jack and I met a nice couple with a nice dog, Annie. We humans all had snowshoes. My little party ventured up ahead where others had snowshoed before us today.

I was curious about the trail. During the storm yesterday, when dog and I were first to climb the hill, I consciously made a crazy turn just before the steep part of the open trail. I wanted to see if those who came after would follow my path—despite what would surely be some drifting in the interim. Sure enough the now-well-worn track took a crazy turn just before the climb. (I got a kick out of it, although Jack frankly didn’t much care.)

Snow formations, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 26 February 2011.

Snow formations.

A blazing sun. White landscape, blue sky, sharp shadows. Interesting snow formations on the fields—including one miniature arch on the uphill side. Beech Nut seemed particularly snowbound today, and the bay particularly scenic (in a wintry kind of way).

No birds, though. None calling, none flitting, none soaring. Just the sun, the snow, the scenery—and a peaceful sort of quiet overlaying everything.

Back home, the house finches were chirping and singing. They sounded eager to get busy with the nest.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 3:30 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

No birds seen or heard on the hill today.

Elsewhere

1. Black-capped chickadee
2. House sparrow
3. American crow
4. Tufted titmouse
5. Herring gull
6. Mallard
7. House finch

Beech Nut, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 26 February 2011.

Beech Nut.

 
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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