17 April 2024

Archive for August, 2010

Dragonflies everywhere

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010
Waning moon, from Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 31 August 2010.

Waning moon (from the summit).

Got off to a bit of a late start this morning, but considering on the way to the pickup I heard a black-and-white warbler’s song coming from the oak grove up back of my place, my hopes were high. Then again, I’m not sure about hopes, high or otherwise. It is what it is (and it’s usually amazing).

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

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

Warm and steamy. Sun streaming down. A blue jay first thing, chickadees roaming. As I’ve lately mentioned—at this late-summer time of year, at least—it pays to listen for chickadees, because for whatever reason they seem often to be surrounded by other silent little birds, warblers and vireos and sparrows. Today was no exception: starting up the last little wooded stretch before the summit, I heard a group of maybe a half-dozen chickadees, paused to check them out, and right away saw a couple of black-and-white warblers, a couple of red-eyed vireos, a white-throated sparrow, and (of course) several chickadees. The vireo got so close it was a challenge to get any kind of photo. The (female) black-and-white hung around agreeably, but the shady woodland wasn’t exactly conducive to excellent photography.

At the summit, a pair (or more) of yell0w-rumps chased amon the spruces. They’ve been dependable lately. And I saw three young (no doubt) yellowthroats all clustered together in the low branches of a tree.

A single hummingbird flying away. Waxwings all over the hill. (Also dragonflies—everywhere.) One or two savannah sparrows. A flicker on the open trail. A pileated woodpecker calling on our return down the wooded slope. And also the note of a veery.

Northern flicker on the trail, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 31 August 2010.

Northern flicker on the trail.

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

1. Blue jay (voice)
2. Black-capped chickadee
3. Red-eyed vireo
4. Black-billed cuckoo (voice)
5. Common yellowthroat
6. Gray catbird
7. Eastern towhee (voice)
8. American goldfinch
9. Song sparrow
10. Black-and-white warbler
11. White-throated sparrow (voice)
12. Downy woodpecker
13. Cedar waxwing
14. Yellow-rumped warbler
15. Ruby-throated hummingbird
16. Savannah sparrow
17. Northern flicker
18. American crow (voice)
19. Pileated woodpecker (voice)
20. Veery (voice)


21. House sparrow
22. Herring gull
23. European starling

Delicate fungi, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 31 August 2010.

Delicate fungi.


Monday, August 30th, 2010
Black-throated blue warbler, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 August 2010.

Black-throated blue warbler.

Jack and I got to Beech Hill about 7 this morning, and already the temperature had risen well into the 70s (F). The sun blazed from the eastern sky, warming the forested side of the hill—which, of course, is where we begin our hike each morning.

Blue jay, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 August 2010.

Blue jay.

Little frogs calling in the periphery. The usual common species as we ascended. Coming around the little stand of popple where chestnut-sideds sing in spring, I suddenly heard the clear four- or five-note call of a redstart. Then a sharp chip from above: a warbler there, a black-throated blue. It flitted close—but directly above us, where it proceeded to pick a spider out of its web up there. It chipped, eyed us below, robbed the web of whatever morsel the spider had wrapped up. Just as I imagined that if this bird defecated, it’d come pretty close to my head—it pooped. The poop landed on a berry leaf about a foot away.

Soon after, a couple of ruffed grouse rose loudly at our approach through thick undergrowth.

At the summit, a breeze whispered through the boughs of the spruces. I heard sparrows and a single yellow-rump. That’s all.

Common yellowthroat, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 August 2010.

Common yellowthroat (female).

Coming down the open trail, I heard jays and crows. At the hardwood thickets along Beech Hill Road, a family of jays pecked at acorns in the shadows. A titmouse carried some morsel or other. Another titmouse hung around nearby. Yellowthroats and catbirds sent out their subtle alarm calls and made very brief, shady appearances. From somewhere, a cicada sang.

Sweat soaked my T-shirt as we climbed back up and over. A solitary savannah sparrow flitted down the open slope—a migrating bird, I figure. And in the lower wooded trail, I heard only chickadees, nuthatches, a wood-pewee, and a single vireo.

* * *

This afternoon, while out cycling in the summery heat, I saw a good-sized flock of starlings circling above the commercial strip of Route 1. The sighting gave me a premonition of fall.

Tufted titmouse, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 August 2010.

Tufted titmouse.

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

1. Red-eyed vireo (voice)
2. Black-capped chickadee
3. White-breasted nuthatch (voice)
4. Common yellowthroat
5. Hairy woodpecker
6. American redstart (voice)
7. Black-throated blue warbler
8. American robin (voice)
9. Ruffed grouse (flushed)
10. Cedar waxwing
11. American goldfinch
12. White-throated sparrow
13. Song sparrow (voice)
14. Yellow-rumped warbler
15. Northern flicker (voice)
16. American crow (voice)
17. Blue jay
18. Mourning dove
19. Gray catbird
20. Tufted titmouse
21. Savannah sparrow
22. Eastern wood-pewee (voice)


22. Herring gull
23. Osprey
24. House sparrow
25. Northern cardinal
26. European starling

Cedar waxwing, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 August 2010.

Cedar waxwing.

Still summer

Sunday, August 29th, 2010
Yellow-rumped warbler (juvenile), Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 August 2010.

Yellow-rumped warbler (juvenile).

Slept really late. Not sure why Jack didn’t wake me earlier—but we headed right up to Beech Hill and didn’t arrive until 9:15. Already pockets of heat and swirls of humidity had gathered in the moist, green hollows of the eastern slope, by now well lit by yellow sunlight.

Headed to the pickup, I heard—then saw—a small family of red-eyed vireos in the trees out back. Quay! one of them was saying. And coming up the hill, the second species I counted (after crow) was a red-eyed vireo (not unusual), but this one was singing a typical vireo song. Then came a chickadee, then a yellowthroat. Then the voice of the cuckoo that must’ve nested down on that side of the hill this year. Several times I’ve heard it there lately.

Yellow-rumped warbler (juvenile), Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 August 2010.

Yellow-rumped warbler (juvenile).

A raven croaked during our ascent. And between the tops of trees I caught sight of a large dark bird flapping east across the brilliant blue. Dark, with some white patches. An eagle? An osprey? I didn’t get a good enough look and so will never know.

At one point chickadees alerted me to a small gang of wood-warblers flitting about the warming canopy. Least shy was a young yellow-rump. There were also young chestnut-sideds there.

It being late, and fairly hot, not a lot of birds jumped out around the open trail. Came back over ahead of a good-sized group of hikers, and it was nice to dive into the cool shade of the wooded slope past Beech Nut. Heard a pewee and a nuthatch and a pileated woodpecker. Watched a pair of  hairy woodpeckers tapping about in neighboring oaks.

Speaking of the oaks, dog and I passed through a little shower of acorns down there—they’ve been falling for a few weeks, but even with very little wind this morning they fell, and several landed fairly near us. One day I will get beaned.

Cicadas sang. Frogs. Crickets. No doubt it is still summer.


Hairy woodpecker, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 August 2010.

Hairy woodpecker.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 9:15 a.m., I hiked all trails.

1. American crow (voice)
2. Red-eyed vireo
3. Black-capped chickadee
4. Common yellowthroat
5. Black-billed cuckoo (voice)
6. Eastern towhee (voice)
7. Common raven (voice)
8. Gray catbird
9. Yellow-rumped warbler
10. Chestnut-sided warbler
11. Cedar waxwing
12. Hairy woodpecker
13. American goldfinch (voice)
14. White-throated sparrow
15. Song sparrow
16. Savannah sparrow
17. Northern flicker (voice)
18. Blue jay
19. Eastern wood-pewee (voice)
20. White-breasted nuthatch (voice)
21. Pileated woodpecker (voice)


22. Herring gull
23. House sparrow

Feathers on the trail, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 August 2010.

Feathers on the trail.

Bird Report is a (sometimes intermittent) record of the birds I encounter while hiking, see while driving, or spy outside my window. —Brian Willson

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