My, my—such a damp, nippy morning. Dog and I stuck around the house all forenoon, getting a little work done, and only after the chill drizzle ended did we take a drive up to Beech Hill.
One nice thing about crappy days: we’re the only ones crazy enough to head up there, Jack and I. Again we pulled into an empty parking lot. A brisk wind was sweeping in from the northwest, and the temperature was (I’m guessing) barely 40 (F). In the first couple minutes of our walk, I saw no birds at all and heard only the voice of a crow. But then a gang of juncos flitted away into some yellow-leafed brush, and I heard the tsee! of a white-throat and the tut-tut of a robin.
The antic air was cold enough that I was glad to have remembered to bring gloves. But the cloud cover had holes in it now, and the sun kept trying to peek through. At one point, sunlight struck Chickawaukie Lake alone, creating an unusual landscape. I learned today even more of what the combination of sun and cloud can do.
Ascending, I heard more crows—and then became aware of a score or so that’d been stalking the southeastern hillside. Most flapped up and away upon sensing our approach, but one stuck around long enough for me to get a photo of just its head poking up through the grass.
The sun lit the eastern slope—and one of the two islands I like to photograph. I heard the strident note of a flicker, and a flock of larks flew over.
We didn’t stay at the windblown summit for very long. As we came back down, a sparrow flitted into the trail ahead of us. This is savannah sparrow behavior—at least at high season—and this little bird resembled one, but I’m pretty sure it was a song sparrow dining on the fall weed seed that the wind had sprinkled along the gravelly trail.
The last species: a blue jay. Its windblown jeers reminded me of a college football game yesterday I’d just as soon forget.
Back home tonight, in gloaming, a pair of cardinals chipped about out back. I could just make out the male perched in the open on a leafless branch. I thought about grabbing a flash photo of it, but my camera was uploading photos. Ah, well—another time.
This evening I heard reports that snow fell today up in Northport and Lincolnville. But tonight the clouds have moved away, and Jupiter hangs brightly overhead.
Beech Hill List
Beginning at 1:45 p.m., I hiked the open trail.
1. American crow
2. Dark-eyed junco
3. White-throated sparrow (voice)
4. American robin (voice)
5. Northern flicker (voice)
6. Horned lark
7. Song sparrow
8. Blue jay (voice)
9. Herring gull
10. Northern cardinal