24 June 2024

Archive for August, 2012

Stirrings

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
Eastern phoebe, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 28 August 2012.

Eastern phoebe.

I had more than twice as many birds on my Beech Hill list today than I did yesterday, although that’s not saying much. Still, it was a nice hike with Jack, as always, and a quiet one—no encounters with other hikers. Few encounters with birds. Earlier in the day a fast, vicious, delicious thundershower blew through, washing the landscape and cooling the air. Slightly. By the time we hit the hill, the air had gone still and humid.

A goldfinch flew over. I heard the faint peeps of chickadees and the quay! of a vireo. About half way up the hill, a catbird flitted off the trail in front of us. At the summit, I heard crows. Also heard a waxwing, looked up, and saw the solitary bird sailing away to the northwest.

Bees in the asters. Mushrooms in the wood.

I kept hearing high-pitched voices of young birds but couldn’t tell what they were. Young vireos, possibly—who knows. Two or three times I spotted little passerines flitting in the thick canopy, but I never got a good look at them. Until, returning down the lower trail, I happened to see a bird leaving a perch on a high stump, dipping down for a bug or caterpillar, then returning to its perch. Flycatcher behavior. We got close enough that I managed to ID it as a phoebe.

By the time we’d descended nearly to the base of the hill, I’d about decided the pewees had moved on when the voice of one startled me. Then another. I managed to catch sight of it, even. Nice.

Tonight there’s a chill in the air. All about things seem to be stirring.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 5:15 p.m., I hiked the wooded trails.

1. American goldfinch (v)
2. Black-capped chickadee (v)
3. Gray catbird
4. Red-eyed vireo
5. Cedar waxwing
6. American crow* (v)
7. Eastern phoebe
8. Eastern wood-pewee

Elsewhere

9. Herring gull
10. Ring-billed gull
11. Rock pigeon
12. House sparrow
13. Mourning dove
14. Black-and-white warbler (v)

V = Voice only
*Also elsewhere

Nothing to see here

Monday, August 27th, 2012
Evening moon, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 August 2012.

Evening moon, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 August 2012.

Same time, same trail, different result. More of a breeze at Beech Hill when Jack and I arrived today, but somehow we got trapped between two groups of hikers, and between that and the breeze—perhaps also the time of year—we saw not a single bird. Heard several gangs of chickadees, heard the tseet! of a white-throated sparrow, heard to scolding catbirds. Oddly, though, not a single wood-pewee.

So here’s a photo of the bay.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at  5 p.m., I hiked the wooded trails.

1. Black-capped chickadee (v)
2. White-throated sparrow (v)
3. Gray catbird (v)

Elsewhere

4. Herring gull
5. Black-throated green warbler (v)
6. American crow (v)

v = Voice only

Pewee

Sunday, August 26th, 2012
Eastern wood-pewee, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 26 August 2012.

Eastern wood-pewee.

About the only difference between the Beech Hill trail this afternoon and twenty-four hours earlier was a breeze. Same temperature, same sky, same path, same trees, but now with a whisper of wind in the canopy. Of course this interfered with my ability to hear distant bird calls—not that that’s necessarily the reason I had only two species on my list until about half-way up the hill.

I heard the third species before I saw it: an eastern wood-pewee. There are a couple of families up there, at least, although they tend to stick to the darker, more forested part of the hillside. This bird seemed to be calling from directly ahead of Jack and me, nearer our scrubby upper section of trail. We got near it. We stopped. I scanned—and then saw it fly from a perch and snag a fly.

Its next perch happened to be facing us, maybe forty feet away, in full sunlight. I believe that’s the only time I’ve seen a pewee in full sunlight. And I appreciated its pose—which turned out to be the only bird photo I got for today.

Several of the same species as yesterday made an appearance, but six fewer in all. The white-breasted nuthatch I heard as we descended was not on yesterday’s list, so yesterday’s list had seven extra birds. But I can’t say I worry about numbers. I ended up delighted to have a photo of a wood-pewee.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 5 p.m., I hiked the wooded trails.

1. Black-capped chickadee
2. American goldfinch (v)
3. Eastern wood-pewee
4. White-throated sparrow
5. Gray catbird
6. American crow*
7. Common yellowthroat (v)
8. White-breasted nuthatch (v)

Elsewhere

9. Herring gull
10. Mallard

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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