17 April 2024

Archive for September, 2012

Back in the routine

Sunday, September 30th, 2012
Hairy woodpecker, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 September 2012.

Hairy woodpecker.

After a sweet bipolar week on Monhegan—manic periods of birding interspersed with lazy times lounging around The Trailing Yew—Jack and I managed to wait out the rain and slip in a late hike up Beech Hill, falling easily back into our familiar pattern. The woods were drippy, the trails moist, and the trees brimming with tiny migrants. Right off the bat, we stopped to watch at least a couple dozen yellow-rumped warblers sweeping through the top branches of the sugarbush maples. Among them, a couple of chickadees (I could tell by their voices) and at least one blue-headed vireo.

Beech Nut, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 September 2012.

Beech Nut.

The chips of yellow-rumps continued around us as we ascended the upper trail. We paused for a minute or two to watch a hairy woodpecker hammer at a trunk a while. A crow cawed. A catbird mewed. Then, as we reached the summit fields, the sun emerged for the first time all day. And when I looked back over the bay, I saw the bright arc of a vivid rainbow.

Heard the note of a song sparrow up there, too, and also the cry of a towhee, but the rainbow had my attention. No one else up there to share the sight—but that was fine with us.

No birds at all on our descent through the shadowy lower woods—just the rhythm of our steps and the sound of our breathing and the lusty aroma of the kind of damp, fragrant air you’ll only smell on the last evening of September.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 5:30 p.m., I hiked the wooded trails.

1. Black-capped chickadee (v)
2. Yellow-rumped warbler
3. Blue-headed vireo
4. Downy woodpecker
5. American crow**
6. Gray catbird (v)
7. Song sparrow (v)
8. Eastern towhee (v)


9. Herring gull

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere

Monhegan, Final Day

Saturday, September 29th, 2012
Northern parula, Monhegan Island, Maine, 29 September 2012.

Northern parula.

I miss the island already. Honestly, it’s not a thing that’s easily explained—the ceaseless sound of the sea, the early morning coffee at The Trailing Yew, crazy birds everywhere, dear companions whose ordinary lives differ considerably from my own (well, most of ’em), pizza and beer for lunch every day, too many cocktails come sweet evening, familiar lanes and trails and landmarks, the ceaseless sound of the sea. Site fidelity, is what it is: you can count on my return for a week during fall migration every year.

Red-breasted nuthatch, Monhegan Island, Maine, 29 September 2012.

Red-breasted nuthatch.

Just one lifer this year—a hooded warbler I happened to be the first to spot, remarkably, just before an icy rain—but plenty of other species I don’t see anywhere else. Western kingbirds. Clay-colored sparrows. Dickcissels. Blue-gray gnatcatchers. And many times more falcons than I’ve ever seen anywhere else, in any time of year.

It’s a short boat trip, just an hour or so. But I might as well be traveling to a parallel universe or back in time somehow. Can’t adequately explain it—except perhaps to say I’m happy to count myself among a lucky few.

Monhegan List
Seen and/or heard between midday, 23 September 2012, and midday, 29 September 2012.

1. Canada goose
2. Wood duck
3. American black duck
4. Mallard
5. Blue-winged teal
6. Common eider
7. Ring-necked pheasant
8. Common loon
9. Northern gannet
10. Double-crested cormorant
11. Great cormorant
12. Great blue heron
13. Black-crowned night heron
14. Osprey
15. Bald eagle
16. Northern harrier
17. Sharp-shinned hawk
18. American kestrel
19. Merlin
20. Peregrine falcon
21. Sora
22. Greater yellowlegs (v)
23. Solitary sandpiper
24. Wilson’s snipe
25. Laughing gull
26. Herring gull
27. Great black-backed gull
28. Black guillemot
29. Mourning dove
30. Belted kingfisher
31. Red-bellied woodpecker
32. Yellow-bellied sapsucker
33. Downy woodpeckers
34. Northern flicker
35. Eastern wood-pewee
36. Least flycatcher
37. Western kingbird
38. Eastern kingbird
39. Blue-headed vireo
40. Red-eyed vireo
41. Blue jay
42. American crow
43. Common raven
44. Tree swallow
45. Black-capped chickadee
46. Red-breasted nuthatch
47. White-breasted nuthatch
48. Brown creeper
49. Carolina wren (v)
50. Golden-crowned kinglet
51. Blue-gray gnatcatcher
52. American robin
53. Brown thrasher
54. Gray catbird
55. European starling
56. Cedar waxwing
57. Nashville warbler
58. Northern parula
59. Yellow warbler
60. Black-throated blue warbler
61. Yellow-rumped warbler
62. Black-throated green warbler
63. Prairie warbler
64. Palm warbler
65. Blackpoll warbler
66. Black-and-white warbler
67. American redstart
68. Common yellowthroat
69. Hooded warbler†
70. Wilson’s warbler
71. Canada warbler
72. Chipping sparrow
73. Clay-colored sparrow
74. Song sparrow
75. Lincoln’s sparrow
76. Swamp sparrow
77. White-throated sparrow
78. Dark-eyed junco
79. Northern cardinal
80. Rose-breasted grosbeak
81. Indigo bunting
82. Dickcissel
83. Bobolink
84. Rusty blackbird
85. Common grackle
86. Baltimore oriole
87. Purple finch
88. Red crossbill (v)
89. Pine siskin
90. American goldfinch

v = Voice only

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 3:45 p.m., I hiked the wooded trails.

1. Black-capped chickadee (v)
2. Yellow-rumped warbler*
3. Gray catbird
4. American crow*
5. Northern flicker (v)
6. Blue jay (v)


7. Herring gull
8. Great black-backed gull
9. Common eider
10. American black duck
11. Double-crested cormorant
12. Black guillemot
13. Common loon
14. Mourning dove
15. Great blue heron

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere

Monhegan, Day 6

Friday, September 28th, 2012
Solitary sandpiper, Monhegan Island, Maine, 28 September 2012.

Solitary sandpiper.

(Complete Monhegan migration trip list coming soon.)

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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