29 April 2017 Rockport, Maine, USA 

Posts Tagged ‘brown-headed cowbird’

Camouflage, I Guess

Friday, April 28th, 2017
American Goldfinch, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 28 April 2017.

Goldfinch in fog.

Third straight foggy day. But it’s the end of April in Maine, after all, which means I’ll be mowing the lawn in a week or so. Also, birds. Arriving birds. Migrants, inbound for the next month or so. They’ll come from the direction of the bay, arrive at sunup, begin working their way up to Beech Hill.

Tomorrow might be sunny for a change, so I hear. Sounds promising.

Black Swan (American Crow), Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 28 April 2017.

Black Swan (American Crow).

This morning while working to track a singer I didn’t recognize, we flushed a woodcock that’d been sitting in the muddy trail not 20 feet in front of dog and me.

“How’d I miss that?” I said to Jack. “Camouflage, I guess.”

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 8:30 a.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. American Robin*
2. Blue Jay (v)
3. Black-capped Chickadee* (v)
4. Northern Cardinal* (v)
5. American Crow* (v)
6. Brown-headed Cowbird
7. Tufted Titmouse (v)
8. Chipping Sparrow** (v)
9. Yellow-rumped Warbler
10. Purple Finch (v)
11. Tree Swallow
12. Song Sparrow
13. Field Sparrow (v)
14. American Goldfinch
15. Eastern Phoebe
16. Savannah Sparrow
17. Northern Flicker
19. American Woodcock
20. Downy Woodpecker (v)


21. White-breasted Nuthatch
22. Herring Gull
23. Rock Pigeon
24. European Starling

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

Eastern Chipmunk, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 28 April 2017.

Eastern Chipmunk.

Finch and Phobe: A Photo Essay

Thursday, April 27th, 2017
House Finch, Rockport, Maine, 27 April 2017.

House Finch.

Eastern Phoebe, Rockport, Maine, 27 April 2017.

Eastern Phoebe.

Finch and Phoebe, Rockport, Maine, 27 April 2017.

Finch and Phoebe.

Alert, Rockport, Maine, 27 April 2017.


Attack, Rockport, Maine, 27 April 2017.


Beech Hill List
Beginning at 8:30 a.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Tufted Titmouse** (v)
2. Northern Cardinal** (v)
3. Black-capped Chickadee*
4. Red-breasted Nuthatch (v)
5. American Crow*
6. Eastern Towhee
7. White-throated Sparrow (v)
8. Brown-headed Cowbird
9. Yellow-rumped Warbler
10. Eastern Phoebe*
11. Tree Swallow
12. Northern Flicker (v)
13. Song Sparrow**
14. American Robin*
15. Pileated Woodpecker (v)
16. Purple Finch (v)
17. American Goldfinch (v)
18. Field Sparrow (v)
19. Downy Woodpecker (v)
20. Savannah Sparrow (v)
21. Herring Gull* (v)


22. Chipping Sparrow
23. House Finch
24. Rock Pigeon
25. European Starling
26. Cedar Waxwing
27. House Sparrow
28. Double-crested Cormorant

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

A Rumination on Frustration

Monday, April 24th, 2017
Savannah Sparrow, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 24 April 2017.

Savannah Sparrow.

Early in our morning hike, dog and I encountered a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. The bird flitted just there, not a dozen feet away, in the shade, flitting, flitting. I worked to get a photo, but they move so fast, kinglets do. At last I decided to try for a video at least—and just as I was about to press the video button, the bird paused for a moment in a beam of light.

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 24 April 2017.

Yellow-rumped Warbler.

I missed the photo.

At the summit, a finch sang high in a spruce, bathed in morning sunlight, and I raised my camera, delighted at the opportunity… but the bird flew.

I missed the photo.

Soon after, as I concentrated on a Yellow-rumped Warbler hidden by webs of branches I heard a huff-huff-huff that I thought might’ve been Jack panting—because the sun was warm and the air temperature about 50 (F)—but the sound was too loud for panting, and I realized I was listening to wing beats, and I looked up to see a raven flying not 20 feet directly above us, headed away.

I missed the photo.

Down in the bayberry, yellow-rumps were flitting all about. I’ve been hoping for a video of a singing ’rump, but so far no dice—and yet here were many singers. Then one bird, by golly, popped up onto a twig and let fly a song, and just as I started the video going, Jack must’ve moved a little, and the bird flew away.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 24 April 2017.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

I missed the video (but did at least grab a photo).

At about this point I decided luck was not on my side, and I would not be getting any good photos or videos. I got to thinking about how easy it is for we humans to fall into a whirlpool of perceived bad luck, a vortex of misfortune, and how our brains lead us to believe that if a thing keeps happening it will continue to. I sought to tell myself it was all in my head, and my reward would come.

Then, rounding a corner, I froze to see a Hermit Thrush in the trail (likewise frozen) about thirty feet away, facing us, illuminated by the sun. Here was the reward. Slowly I raised my camera—and the thrush flew away.

Damn it. I gave up. Let it go.

Later, descending the open trail, I heard a faint familiar sound: the note of a Savannah Sparrow. First of the year. I found it perched not far away, and I managed a bunch of photos. And a video of it scolding us. And soon after that first sparrow, I came upon another, singing softly in a birch tree. I got more photos, more video.

All in all, a highly satisfying day.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 7:45 a.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. American Robin*
2. Red-breasted Nuthatch (v)
3. Black-capped Chickadee** (v)
4. Eastern Towhee
5. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
6. American Crow*
7. Eastern Phoebe*
8. American Goldfinch**
9. Tufted Titmouse (v)
10. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (drumming)
11. Tree Swallow
12. Song Sparrow*
13. Field Sparrow (v)
14. Yellow-rumped Warbler
15. House Finch
16. Common Raven
17. Herring Gull*
18. Brown-headed Cowbird
19. Hermit Thrush
20. Chipping Sparrow**
21. Blue Jay (v)
22. Northern Cardinal** (v)
23. Savannah Sparrow†
24. White-breasted Nuthatch (v)


25. Osprey
26. Broad-winged Hawk

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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