A sweet, lovely, cool, sunny morning. I’d thought about getting a jump on the day with an early Beech Hill hike, but it didn’t happen. Instead, I listened to the bird activity while working with my windows open: house finch, redstart, laughing gull, cardinal, crow. As the sun rose higher in the sky, I began to get a hankering for a bike ride—and in mid-afternoon, that happened.
Herring gulls for a change. Warblers singing along the roadside. Starling, song sparrow, cardinal. Considering the temperature, the light wind, the dry air, it was just about a perfect cycling day.
Then, after work, dog and I set off for the woods. En route, I couldn’t help but notice that lilacs are in bloom.
Right away I noticed some work had happened in the sugarbush earlier today—piles of small trees and heaps of logs, one fair-sized maple felled and still lying, green and leafy, near the big mama maple. Didn’t hear many birds around, which I suppose shouldn’t be surprising. Chestnut-sided warbler, hairy woodpecker, and ovenbird.
But coming up the hill, the other resident species began to make themselves known—including a teed-up waxwing that I just missed taking a portrait of. Plenty of veeries and alder flycatchers, many species of wood warbler. We stood for quite a while at the summit, just soaking up the fresh, perfect air and listening. Heard a savannah sparrow’s song, spotted one of the Beech Nut phoebes.
Descending again through the thicker woods, I noticed Jack paying sudden attention to something off to our left a ways. I think he must’ve heard the porcupine scraping around in the leaves. We stopped and—while enduring swarms of mosquitos and black flies—I grabbed a photo and a quick video. We couldn’t have been more than forty feet apart, but I don’t think the rodent knew we were there.
This early evening, as I was wrapping up some work with my door open, a bird flew in my office and lit on my purple spider web neon sign. A female house sparrow, I’m pretty sure (although originally I thought it a finch). I managed to coax it out again without much trouble.
At gloaming, the redstart was still singing out there. And the house finch, and a cardinal. And—suddenly—a yellow warbler, just a few feet from my back door.
Beech Hill List
Beginning at 5:15 p.m., I hiked the wooded trails.
1. Chestnut-sided warbler (voice)
2. Hairy woodpecker (voice)
3. Ovenbird (voice)
4. Black-capped chickadee (voice)
6. Eastern towhee
7. Alder flycatcher (voice)
8. Gray catbird
9. Common yellowthroat
10. Cedar waxwing
11. Black-and-white warbler (voice)
12. American crow (voice)
13. Yellow warbler
14. Song sparrow
15. Rose-breasted grosbeak (voice)
16. Black-throated green warbler (voice)
17. Savannah sparrow (voice)
18. Eastern phoebe
19. Blue jay (voice)
20. Red-eyed vireo (voice)
21. Northern parula (voice)
22. Herring gull (voice)
23. Eastern wood-pewee (voice)
24. American robin (voice)
25. American redstart (voice)
26. House finch
27. Northern cardinal
28. Laughing gull
29. House sparrow
30. Herring gull
31. European starling
32. Mourning dove
33. White-breasted nuthatch