14 April 2024

Archive for April, 2012

Monday lament

Monday, April 30th, 2012
American robin, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 April 2012.

American robin.

I’d say I got up on the wrong side of the bed, except there’s only one side to get up on. It was a sunny day, but again too cool and breezy to think about a bike ride. But I did think about it, and I probably would’ve taken one if I didn’t get entangled in so much work-related crap right out of the gate. The first bird I saw today, out the window while washing dishes, was a starling zipping back to its nest in a cavity in the peak of the neighbor’s roof. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Litter, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 April 2012.


I dropped things. I forgot stuff. I cursed under my breath.

But there’s always Beech Hill. And Jack and I were really ready for our hike this afternoon. Of course right away I noticed the tracks of a mountain bike on the muddy wooded track—and mountain bikes are a major no-no on the Beech Hill trails. Kind of ticked me off. In fact, it ticked me off to the point where I was imagining tackling any mountain biker whom I met coming my way.

Took a bunch of photos before realizing I’d somehow screwed up my new camera settings. Nearing the summit, I heard crows hollering at something but didn’t hurry up to see what was going on and missed a good crow-harrier chase. Could’ve had a nice photo. We walked down the open trail a ways to hunt for sparrows, but none appeared. What did appear was a McDonald’s cup someone had tossed carelessly over into the blueberries. People suck, is what I was thinking right about then. I retrieved someone else’s litter, and we started back over the hill.

Coming back down, a corvid of some kind (crow? raven?) was sitting in the middle of a field not far from us, and I couldn’t get my camera to wake up in time to capture it as it rose with something white in its beak and flapped slowly away. Sure looked like a raven to me, but I was too busy fiddling with my camera to get an accurate ID.

But I did get to hear the bright song of a brown creeper. And I did get a portrait of a robin. And a goldfinch flew over.

And tomorrow is the first of May.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 4:45 p.m., I hiked the wooded trails.

1. Black-capped chickadee*
2. American robin*
3. American crow*
4. Northern harrier
5. Tufted titmouse* (v)
6. Brown creeper (v)
7. American goldfinch* (v)


8. European starling
9. Herring gull
10. House finch (v)
11. Song sparrow (v)
12. Osprey (v)
13. Chipping sparrow (v)
14. Turkey vulture
15. Rock dove
16. Northern cardinal (v)
17. Mourning dove

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere

Birds and butterflies

Sunday, April 29th, 2012
Mourning dove, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 April 2012.

Mourning dove.

I think I’m getting the hang of the new camera. For a while, I thought it was defective—the zoom kept backtracking on me when I didn’t want it to. But then I discovered the “zoom framing assist” feature that’s activated by a small button on the back of the camera, right where I tend to press my right thumb. Ah-ha! Now that I’m learning to hold the thing differently, everything is copacetic. And that zoom-framing feature is actually kind of useful.

American lady, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 April 2012.

American lady.

Dog and I hit the trails in the morning for a change. Figured we’d best get used to an early hike—we’ll be heading up at 6:30 or 7 soon enough, what with the impending arrival of warblers and their fondness for early morning activity. It also being Sunday, we hiked all trails. Got a pair of mourning doves on the way up. Then the voice (which I’ve just learned), plus a glimpse, of a sapsucker. Savannah sparrows coming down the open trail. The song of a first-of-year field sparrow down toward Beech Hill Road. I guess I should update my annual species lists, which are stuck sometime in 2011.

Another really chilly day, if again also brilliantly sunny. Eventually it’ll warm up, but still. On the other hand, a little cold wind won’t stop us any more than ticks will. We’re gonna hike up there every day.

No hawks today. I miss hawks. An eagle or raven might be nice. Or some rare vagrant. But I got a look at three species of butterfly: red admiral, American lady, and silvery blue. In fact, the silvery blue I took a photo of took wing and was at once intercepted by another of its species, and the two of them engaged in a tight, swirling, antic dance down the trail ahead of us.

Red admiral, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 April 2012.

Red admiral.

Worked-played for the rest of the day. Just finished watching Game of Thrones. And a minute ago I noticed, out in the astonishingly quiet night, no song of spring peepers at all.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 10:30 a.m., I hiked all trails.

1. Black-capped chickadee*
2. American goldfinch*
3. Mourning dove*
4. American robin*
5. Herring gull*
6. Eastern towhee (v)
7. White-breasted nuthatch (v)
8. Yellow-bellied sapsucker
9. American crow*
10. Savannah sparrow
11. Field sparrow** (v)
12. Tufted titmouse (v)


13. House finch (v)
13. Song sparrow (v)
15. Northern cardinal (v)

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**First-of-year bird

Savannah sparrow, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 April 2012.

Savannah sparrow.

Blue and gold

Saturday, April 28th, 2012
Three crows, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 28 April 2012.

Three crows.

Brrr. The day dawned excruciatingly clear and bright—and distractingly cold. But never mind. Spent much of the day working at the kitchen table—where I downed a delicious breakfast of eggs scrambled with onions and hot peppers, a few fried potatoes, and fresh black coffee—with a break to chat with the across-the-road neighbors. At last, Jack and I took a hike.

Moon, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 28 April 2012.


The wind was whipping at the summit of Beech Hill. On the way up, I heard the voice of a raven and flushed a woodcock from the muddy trail not twenty feet in front of us. (Wished I’d seen it first.) Tried out my new camera, which I’m still getting used to. The colors of the day and my mood and the whole world around me were predominantly blue and gold. Half moon in the blue sky. Blue bay beyond the gold-green fields. American goldfinch at the top of a budding-out maple.

Tonight is a crisp and starry one—just like I like ’em.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 4:45 p.m., I hiked the wooded trails.

1. Black-capped chickadee
2. Northern raven (v)
3. American woodcock
4. American robin*
5. Eastern towhee (v)
6. American crow*
7. Eastern phoebe (v)
8. American goldfinch*


9. Tufted titmouse (v)
10. Northern cardinal (v)
11. Turkey vulture
12. House finch
13. Mourning dove
14. House sparrow
15. Herring gull

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere

American goldfinch, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 28 April 2012.

American goldfinch.

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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