24 June 2024

Archive for January, 2013

Sound to silence

Monday, January 28th, 2013
Bald eagle, Glen Cove, Rockport, Maine, 28 January 2013.

Bald eagle.

This day began riotous and ended serene.

Sun sloshed down all over everything early. When first I took Jack out, crows were foraging across the road, and I caught sight of a pileated woodpecker bouncing off toward Jameson Point. Back inside soon after, I heard crows hollering at something out back. Well, I know what that means and so grabbed my camera and stepped out onto the deck. Only saw crows at first—and then I spotted it. A lone eagle soaring in a winter thermal, wings not flapping at all, up and up and away.

Toward early afternoon, the sky turned overcast, and by the time I finished some time-consuming work, the day was getting old, and the light had dimmed to gray. Every hundred hards or so as Jack and I hiked Beech Hill I’d stop to listen. And hear nothing. Well, not nothing—but the distant rush of the tires of an occasional car was the only sound up there. Heard not a peep from a chickadee, saw no winged thing at all.

First day of no Beech Hill birds in a long time.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 4 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

No birds seen or heard on the hill today.


1. American crow
2. Pileated woodpecker
3. Bald eagle

Sun and wind and shrike

Sunday, January 27th, 2013
Northern shrike, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 January 2013.

Northern shrike.

Today was a tiny bit warmer than yesterday— nearly 20 degrees (F). Still windy, though. Sun all day, wind all day. Quite a few birds flitting around.

At Beech Hill, I heard the usual titmice and chickadees. No bluebirds that I noticed. Jack and I got nearly to the summit before I spotted something: a solitary northern shrike hunting from a low perch down the eastern slope a ways. As I chatted at the summit with another hardy hiker, I noticed a few gulls circling toward the bay for the second straight day. And driving away, we passed a flock of robins.

Tonight, above the wind, the moon is full.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 3 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Tufted titmouse (v)
2. Black-capped chickadee** (v)
3. Northern shrike
4. Herring gull*
5. American robin*


6. American crow
7. Mourning dove

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

January bluebirds

Saturday, January 26th, 2013
Eastern bluebird, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 26 January 2013.

Eastern bluebird.

Today was much like yesterday but a lot windier. So when Jack and I hit the Beech Hill trail this afternoon, I wrapped a scarf around my face. Undaunted by the frigidity, chickadees and titmice flitted about in the branches of the trees around the parking lot. The trail had trecherous stretches of ice-slick snow. Nearing the top, I ran into my friend Chip, and we chatted a while. (Honestly, I’d expected we’d be alone up there again, even on a Saturday.) As we talked, I noticed a big cloud of herring gulls circling away toward the bay.

Black-capped chickadee, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 26 January 2013.

Black-capped chickadee.

Returning, we met a gang of young people ascending—none with scarves wrapped around their faces. And a mom and kiddo were just starting up as we got back to the chickadee trees.

But driving back along South Street, I saw a couple birds zip by and stopped. Could they have been bluebirds? Flipped on my emergency flashers, told Jack I’d be right back, grabbed my camera, and tracked ’em down: about a half-dozen eastern bluebirds, apparently finding plenty to eat on a brisk January day.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 2:45 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Black-capped chickadee
2. Tufted titmouse (v)
3. Herring gull*
4. Eastern bluebird


5. American crow

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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