29 August 2014 Rockport, Maine, USA 

Posts Tagged ‘blue jay’

Big news

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
Monarch, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 26 August 2014.


I saw a monarch butterfly today. In fact, I’m pretty sure I saw two—a second one in the distance, headed south—but I got a great look at one as it fluttered around Jack and me on our late-in-the-day hike to the summit of Beech Hill Preserve.

Southern arrowweed berries, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 26 August 2014.

Southern arrowweed berries.

I also rode my bike around today, did some errands, did some desk work, and thought about stuff. But the main thing was the monarch.

That’s big news, in my view, because of their sudden, precipitous decline—by as much as ninety percent, some say—thanks to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, a particularly potent killer of milkweed, which monarchs, those tiny, miraculous migrants, love. Rather than get creative, and use their imaginations, humans like to kill stuff that gets in their way. And suddenly monarchs are under consideration for the Endangered Species List.

But that’s all right, because Nature will solve everything one day.

P.S. Very few birds on the hill day, maybe because of the heat and the wind and a need to hide the youngsters.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 5:15 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Song Sparrow
2. American Crow*
3. Cedar Waxwing
4. Common Yellowthroat
5. Herring Gull*
6. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
7. Black-capped Chickadee** (v)
8. Blue Jay**


9. Laughing Gull (v)
10. Northern Cardinal (v)
11. European Starling
12. Mourning Dove

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


Lovely day

Monday, August 25th, 2014
Cedar Waxwing, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 25 August 2014.

Cedar Waxwing.

A day much like yesterday. In fact, all the rest of the days this week are supposed to be similarly clear and mild. That means I’ll be riding my bike a lot—and Jack will get some good Beech Hill hikes out of the deal.

Variable Darner, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 25 August 2014.

Variable Darner.

More waxwings (but no hatch of swarming flies), and more little birds tagging along with a young family of chickadees. I stood transfixed as they flitted around in the foliage very near me—in fact, a Black-throated Green Warbler lit on a twig so close I couldn’t focus—and counted more than half of today’s species from right along the road there.

Dragonflies were about, as well. Crickets, a sign of late summer. Warmth. Young people taking senior photos at the summit of the hill.

Another lovely cool night tonight. Another lovely day tomorrow.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 5:30 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Black-capped Chickadee**
2. White-breasted Nuthatch
3. Black-throated Green Warbler
4. Red-eyed Vireo**
5. Cedar Waxwing
6. Tufted Titmouse**
7. American Crow* (v)
8. Gray Catbird (v)
9. Common Yellowthroat (v)
10. Song Sparrow
11. Eastern Towhee
12. Savannah Sparrow
13. American Goldfinch**
14. Downy Woodpecker
15. Eastern Bluebird (v)


16. Herring Gull
17. European Starling
18. Blue Jay (v)
19. Mourning Dove
20. Laughing Gull

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



Sunday, August 24th, 2014
Cedar Waxwing, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 24 August 2014.

Cedar Waxwing.

This the kind of lovely August Sunday that found me working all morning at the kitchen table, running errands in early afternoon here and there, riding my bicycle up to Camden for a specific bottle of beer and a certain chocolate and walnut brownie at Megunticook Market, and hiking Beech Hill Preserve with my dog before the sun went down. I.e., a damn nice kind of day.

Swarm, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 24 August 2014.


It was nice for the Beech Hill waxwings, too, on account of a big fly hatch. I’d watched waxwings for the past week or so perching in the trailside birches and occasionally fluttering off to grab a flying insect or two before returning to the same tree. But I hadn’t yet seen the kind of big swarms like I did last year about this time—the kind they’ll take to hovering in, just hoovering up flies. Until today.

I didn’t see it until we reached the summit. The swarm was thick and churning and seemed to be stuck to one area just at the tip of the tallest tree in the spruce grove, where—sure enough—several waxwings were hanging out. This time, though, they didn’t have to flutter off and hover: the flies were thick enough that they were lighting on the branches the birds perched on. All they had to do was dip down and have a bite. Thoughtful.

Returning into the late-afternoon sun, we encountered loose clouds of flies along the trail, flitting and flashing in the bright backlight. We came down along where I’d watched a Yellow Warbler, a Red-eyed Vireo, an Alder Flycatcher, and some other waxwings hunting for tiny winged things. As we’d stood there quietly, a humming bird buzzed over and hung there in the air for a moment, sizing us up. In the distance, a Blue Jay screamed.

Red-eyed Vireo, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 24 August 2014.

Red-eyed Vireo.

Tonight is lusciously cool.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 5:45 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Cedar Waxwing**
2. American Goldfinch
3. Black-capped Chickadee (v)
4. Song Sparrow
5. Gray Catbird (v)
6. Eastern Towhee
7. Blue Jay (v)
8. Common Yellowthroat
9. Yellow Warbler
10. Red-eyed Vireo**
11. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
12. Alder Flycatcher
13. Mourning Dove* (v)
14. American Crow* (v)
15. Northern Cardinal (v)


16. Tufted Titmouse (v)
17. Herring Gull
18. House Sparrow
19. American Robin
20. Canada Goose

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


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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