Freakin’ freezing today. Windy. Ice on the parking lot. Low 20s (F), but felt colder. A cloudless day—which sort of explains it—into which dog and I didn’t make it out until late-afternoon.
No one else was foolhardy enough to walk up the wind-whipped slopes of Beech Hill, I guess. No mud up there today, at least. Unexpectedly, I saw a little flock of robins fly over the trail as we climbed. They were headed south. A moment later, as I took a photo of the trail behind us, a few more zipped past, apparently, because they’re there in the corner of the photo.
Then, at the frigid, wind-whipped summit, we came upon a northern harrier—or it came upon us. It was soaring just down the western slope from Beech Nut when I saw it, but of course I didn’t have my camera at the ready, and the harrier sailed over the trees to the north. However, as we began our descent, I happened to spot it far down the eastern hillside, careening wildly in the moving air. I followed it from a distance as it dipped and veered and, finally, headed nearer down the southern field, where I got a couple of not particularly stunning photos of a particularly stunning, soaring marsh hawk.
A bright, lovely waxing-crescent moon set behind the oaks this evening. A while later, Jupiter followed—I saw him winking back there. Plenty of stars out. A nippy evening, that’s for sure.
Beech Hill List
Beginning at 3:30 p.m., I hiked the open trail.
1. American robin
2. Northern harrier
3. American crow
4. Black-capped chickadee
5. Tufted titmouse
6. Herring gull
7. American coot
8. Mourning dove