23 April 2014 Rockport, Maine, USA 
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Posts Tagged ‘blue jay’

Kinglets in love

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014


Savannah Sparrow, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 22 April 2014.

Savannah Sparrow.

A calm, gray, lovely morning. Up early with Jack, and before we knew it, we were walking quietly up a quiet hill. Plenty of bird voices on the way up through the woods, and a few little migrants as we reached the open fields—including Palm Warbler, yellow-rump, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. I could tell they were moving in off the bay. In little waves they came.

Eastern Towhee, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 22 April 2014.

Eastern Towhee.

Bunches of love-sick ruby-crowneds, in fact, singing like crazy all up and down the hill. Plus cowbirds—five or six of those, I bet. I’m not really a fan of parasitic species, but these were mildly amusing, chasing each other around while emitting their loud, annoying burbling call. More sapsuckers, too. I heard one hammering at up at the summit (I had already started back down), and the one guy hammering down by the road on the particularly loud tree. I love their jaunty little drum beat. This spring I’ve seen far more Beech Hill sapsuckers than ever.

Three little quiet Savannah sparrows chasing around up at the barrens. An osprey’s scream from overhead.

Right about now, you can tell, love is in air.

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

1. Herring Gull*
2. Northern Flicker** (v)
3. Downy Woodpecker
4. Northern Cardinal** (v)
5. Hermit Thrush
6. Black-capped Chickadee**
7. American Robin*
8. Tufted Titmouse (v)
9. Brown-headed Cowbird
10. American Goldfinch (v)
11. American Crow*
12. Mourning Dove* (v)
13. Eastern Towhee
14. Song Sparrow**
15. Palm Warbler
16. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
17. Yellow-rumped Warbler
18. Eastern Phoebe
19. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
20. Savannah Sparrow
21. Red-winged Blackbird
22. House Finch**
23. White-throated Sparrow (v)
24. White-breasted Nuthatch (v)
25. Blue Jay
26. Mallard
27. Osprey (v)
28. Pileated Woodpecker (v)


29. Wild Turkey
30. House Sparrow (v)

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere

Eastern phoebe, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 22 April 2014.

Eastern phoebe.


Woodpeckers on parade

Monday, April 21st, 2014
American kestrel, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 21 April 2014.

American kestrel.

For whatever reason, this has been a great spring for woodpeckers. Red-bellieds, and Yellow-bellieds, and Pileated ’Peckers galore. And flickers. I forgot to mention yesterday that I stopped to count the number of notes in a particular flicker’s call at Beech Hill. A flicker’s call is so rapid and long, it was not an easy thing to do. I kept losing track—until I realized I could easily reckon in groups of eight. Forty-seven notes. That’s a lot.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 21 April 2014.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (female).

Today was sunny. The early trails were drier still than yesterday. Birds were about but seemingly not as visible. I did hear my first Purple Finch in a while—it was performing its vireo-like call.

No pictures, though, until Jack and I got up and over and down to Beech Hill Road, where I heard the telltale syncopated drumming of a Yellow-Bellied Woodpecker. Same tree as a couple days ago. A loud one. We stopped, I turned back a ways. The drumming moved to a quieter piece of wood—which turned out to be the same utility pole the Pileated Woodpecker’s been using. As I began to take a video of the drumming male, a female showed up, and the pair of them bobbed noisily up and down in a sort of courtship display I’d never seen. And soon after, I noticed three of them marching up a sloping tree trunk—two males on either side of the female, I’m pretty sure.

The Chipping Sparrow was singing down there, too, so I decided to use the note-counting trick I’d learned with the flicker. The chippy’s rapid call—about the same speed as the flicker’s, now that I think about it—included twenty-three notes.

Back up at the summit, a sparrow hawk showed up, and I got a few photos of it sweeping and hovering over the barrens. Then, back along the lower wooded trail, again I heard a Winter Wren. I wonder if a pair will be nesting down there somewhere this season.

As for woodpeckers, four species today: flicker, hair, sapsucker, pileated. Woodpeckers entertain me.

Beech Hill List

Beginning at 7:30 a.m., I hiked all trails.

1. Northern Flicker (v)
2. American Robin*
3. Northern Cardinal (v)
4. House Finch** (v)
5. American Crow*
6. Black-capped Chickadee
7. Purple Finch† (v)
8. Herring Gull*
9. Mourning Dove* (v)
10. Pileated Woodpecker (v)
11. Brown-headed Cowbird (v)
12. Hermit Thrush
13. Eastern Towhee
14. Song Sparrow**
15. Eastern Phoebe
16. American Goldfinch (v)
17. Hairy Woodpecker
18. Red-winged Blackbird
19. Blue Jay
20. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
21. Fox Sparrow
22. American Kestrel
23. Winter Wren (v)


24. House Sparrow

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere
†First-of-year bird


Long hike

Sunday, April 20th, 2014
Song Sparrow, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 20 April 2014.

Song Sparrow.

We started pretty early, Jack and I, arriving at Beech Hill for our Easter Sunday hike at about 7:30 a.m. The hill was chilly, quiet, conducive to a slow stalk up through the woods, on the lookout for spring birds.

Hermit Thrush, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 20 April 2014.

Hermit Thrush.

And I managed to hear and/or see a bunch of ’em. In fact, I had a dozen species on my list by the time we rounded the trail’s first turn. And I doubled that by the time we reached the summit—thanks to a first-of-year veery, a distant red-bellied woodpecker, overflying cowbird and killdeer, a booming ruffed grouse, and more.

Nearing the summit we ran into an early hiking friend, chatted briefly. Then I saw a little clutch of yellow-rumped warblers and a singing ruby-crowned kinglet. Up at the rocky outcrop, we met our friend Ed and his dog, Chupe, whom we hadn’t seen since last year, and ended up chatting for quite a while. On up to the summit, where we met a fellow on a bicycle. I advised him that bikes were not allowed on the hill, and he introduced himself, and he turned out to be somebody I knew from going on thirty years ago.

We ended up talking for at least fifteen minutes, maybe a half-hour.

Then Jack and I introduced ourselves to a couple who had just arrived at the summit, and I chatted with those folks for a good time. On down to the parking lot and back up again, where we ran into our friends from the village who walk from there. Chatted for a while.

By the time we got back down through the woods (less muddy today) and arrived at the truck, three hours and fifteen minutes had passed.

Day moon, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 20 April 2014.

Day moon.

Fun to interact with people for a change—while of course still keeping an eye out for wild birds.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 7:30 a.m., I hiked all trails.

1. Black-capped Chickadee**
2. American Robin*
3. Eastern Phoebe
4. Northern Cardinal** (v)
5. American Goldfinch (v)
6. Hermit Thrush
7. Herring Gull*
8. American Crow*
9. House Finch** (v)
10. Mourning Dove* (v)
11. Northern Flicker (v)
12. Ruffed Grouse (booming)
13. Pileated Woodpecker (v)
14. Killdeer
15. Red-bellied Woodpecker (v)
16. Brown-headed Cowbird (v)
17. Veery†
18. Eastern Towhee
19. Song Sparrow**
20. Blue jay
21. American Kestrel
22. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
23. Yellow-rumped Warbler
24. Tree Swallow (v)
25. Downy Woodpecker (v)
26. Mallard*


27. House Sparrow (v)
28. Rock Pigeon

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere
†First-of-year bird


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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