20 May 2024

Archive for June, 2012

Drizzle

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
Common yellowthroat (female), Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 June 2012.

Common yellowthroat (female).

Faint sun early, passing rain showers. Mostly wet and drizzly. Did not ride my bike.

Eastern phoebe, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 June 2012.

Eastern phoebe.

But Jack and I shall hike Beech Hill, never mind the weather. Still—after yesterday’s deluge—I waited until I was pretty sure we wouldn’t get poured on again. A little drizzle as we started up the wooded trail.

Also bird calls. One, a couple, four, five. Nothing to see where the veery sang yesterday. No scolding redstarts where they accosted us—which makes me wonder if such frantic behavior means more than just nestlings, perhaps early fledglings. Just beyond the redstart spot, I heard the chips of a yellowthroat, and we stood amid buzzing mosquitoes to watch first a female then a male appear in the trailside foliage.

Light drizzle, is all, although when a wind gust blew through the canopy rained. About half-way up, I heard the song of a yellow warbler and before long there flitted the bird itself, insect in beak, chipping at us from the shadows.

Someone had thoughtfully bushwhacked the upper trail along the fields, where another pair of yellowthroats hollered at us as we passed. Waxwings flying overhead, and a solitary tree swallow. At the summit, I caught the voices of a song sparrow, a field sparrow, a Savannah sparrow, and a distant rose-breasted grosbeak. The phoebes were tending their Beech Nut nest.

Green trail, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 June 2012.

Green trail.

Still drizzling up top, but some sun poked through. Saw no rainbow, though.

Returning through the soggy lower woods, I added four species to today’s list: black-throated green warbler, hermit thrush, pewee, chickadee. Mosquitos buzzed. More drizzle.

But tonight I see the crescent of a new moon.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 4:30 p.m., I hiked the wooded trails.

1. Red-eyed vireo (v)
2. Chestnut-sided warbler
3. Veery (v)
4. Gray catbird* (v)
5. Eastern towhee
6. Common yellowthroat*
7. American crow* (v)
8. American redstart
9. Yellow warbler*
10. Mourning dove*
11. Song sparrow*
12. Cedar waxwing*
13. American robin (v)
14. Ovenbird* (v)
15. Eastern phoebe
16. Savannah sparrow
17. Field sparrow (v)
18. Rose-breasted grosbeak (v)
19. American goldfinch* (v)
20. Alder flycatcher (v)
21. Tree swallow
22. Black-throated green warbler* (v)
23. Hermit thrush* (v)
24. Eastern wood-pewee (v)
25. Black-capped chickadee

Elsewhere

26. Northern cardinal (v)
27. House finch (v)
28. Herring gull
29. Tufted titmouse (v)

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere

Blue leaf, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 June 2012.

Blue leaf.

Comedy of errors

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
Veery, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 26 June 2012.

Veery.

This day began wet, with a good, soaking rain coming down. Made breakfast, headed down to work, spent the morning wrestling with puzzles that had no apparent solution. But the rain let up, and as I sat at my desk I glanced out the window and—on separate occasions—saw three birds on the railing just a few feet away: a house finch, a (bald) cardinal, and a catbird.

American redstart (male), Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 26 June 2012.

American redstart (male).

And then the sun came out. Lots of blue sky between great mountainous cumulus. After an hour or two of such spectacular weather, I changed into my cycling suit and prepared for a good fast ride. Just as I was about to set off, though, I happened to see a hawk circling right above my building and so set my bike aside and dashed up the back stairs for my camera—and my bike shoes slipped on the wet wooden steps and I went down hard, slamming my chin into the rail and smacking my knees and wrist and other body parts. After I’d managed to check the damage and actually retrieve my camera, the hawk had moved too far up for a photo. Oh, well.

The ride was nice. Plenty of birds enjoying the brilliant afternoon. But by the time I was ready to take Jack up to Beech Hill, an overcast had moved across half the sky. No problem. We’d done this drill before. So off we went, started up the trail—and it began to drizzle. No problem. Although neither of us had brought a raincoat, we’d hiked in plenty of drizzle.

Several birds calling right away. In fact, a veery flitted up to a branch just ahead of us and began to sing in full view. I managed a few photos and a video. Nice. Then, not very long after, a nesting pair of redstarts began to chip at us with alarm—we’d no doubt crept close to a new crop of nestlings. Again, they posed for pictures. A couple of minutes later, about half-way up the hill, I heard what sounded like rising traffic, an approaching rush. Only just before it arrived did I recognize the sound, with a feeling something like horror. And it began to pour.

American redstart (female), Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 26 June 2012.

American redstart (female).

We stood under a little stand of staghorn sumac for a little while as the rain pelted down. I stood hunkered over my camera, the back of my T-shirt getting soaked; Jack snuck off under a bush and lay down. After maybe a minute or two, the rain seemed to be letting up, so I took a gamble and we began to move quickly up again.

It was a mistake.

The rain didn’t let up. It kept pelting down during out whole hike up, our turn down the lower trail, our swift walk back. I heard no other birds—heard only the roar of rain falling on full foliage, like the sound of loud, extended applause. And wouldn’t you know, as soon as we reached the parking lot again, it stopped.

First I took Jack’s towel and dried off my camera. Then I dried off Jack. Then I stripped off my sodden T-shirt and we headed home, where, a short three miles away, no rain had fallen. I fact, the sun was out.

Figures.

And then my camera wouldn’t work. Lens error. Uh-oh. I finally turned on a wall heater and hung the thing from a picture hook above it. It took a couple hours, but—I’ll be damned—it began to work again. (Might take a while for the viewfinder to clear, though.)

Talk about an adventurous day. But all’s well that ends well, I suppose.

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

1. Red-eyed vireo* (v)
2. Northern cardinal* (v)
3. Black-capped chickadee (v)
4. American goldfinch* (v)
5. American crow
6. Veery
7. Common yellowthroat
8. Chestnut-sided warbler
9. American redstart*
10. Ovenbird* (v)

Elsewhere

11. House finch
12. Gray catbird
13. Herring gull
14. Red-tailed hawk
15. Mourning dove
16. European starling
17. Blue jay (v)
18. Chipping sparrow (v)
19. Yellow warbler
20. Common yellowthroat
21. Hermit thrush (v)

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere

 

A good soaking

Monday, June 25th, 2012
Savannah sparrow, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 25 June 2012.

Savannah sparrow.

The forecast called for rain today, so when all we got was overcast until mid-afternoon, I decided to take a quick bike ride. Within a minute of setting out, I felt drizzle on my cheeks—but it didn’t last long, and I managed my usual route from post office to post office. However, on the way back, I found myself staring at a great darkness looming in front of me. Made it within a mile from home before the rain began to fall. About three minutes later, I pulled into the drive to the sound of thunder. Whew.

Cedar waxwing, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 25 June 2012.

Cedar waxwing.

But there was still a hike with dog to be had. Waited an hour or so, checked the weather radar, and saw what looked to be a little letup. So off we went.

Well, it wasn’t raining hard, but it was raining. By the time we’d gotten about half-way up the wooded Beech Hill trail, both Jack and I were soaked. Then again, I got to hear and/or see a lot more birds than I imagined I would. Started slow—singing chestnut-sided warbler, chickadees, towhee—but as we neared the summit, things got really interesting when we stumbled on a grouse with chicks. The adult hissed at us and moved away from the trail, and the little light-colored chicks fluttered their new wings into the brush and vanished. I  didn’t want to traumatize the little family, though, so we didn’t stick around.

At the summit I saw both phoebe and Savannah sparrow. Also a solitary goldfinch. And a few loose flocks of waxwings. Heard a yellowthroat and a yellow warbler and a catbird.

Down in the woods, I heard my first ovenbird of our hike, and soon after I heard a red-eyed vireo singing a sort of half-assed song. Vireos just don’t like to sing in the rain, I’ve decided.

Eastern towhee, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 25 June 2012.

Eastern towhee.

After our return home, it began to rain harder. No hermit thrush singing out back tonight. Can’t say as I much blame him.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 4:30 p.m., I hiked the wooded trails.

1. Chestnut-sided warbler
2. Black-capped chickadee (v)
3. Eastern towhee
4. American redstart* (v)
5. Cedar waxwing*
6. American robin* (v)
7. Ruffed grouse
8. Veery (v)
9. Gray catbird* (v)
10. Eastern phoebe
11. Savannah sparrow
12. American goldfinch*
13. Common yellowthroat*
14. Yellow warbler (v)
15. Ovenbird (v)
16. Red-eyed vireo (v)

Elsewhere

17. House finch (v)
18. Northern cardinal (v)
19. American crow
20. Herring gull
21. Mourning dove
22. Chipping sparrow (v)

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere

 
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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