20 May 2024

Archive for March, 2013


Thursday, March 28th, 2013
American robin, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 28 March 2013.

American robin.

This day had it all: overcast, a spattering of rain, sun, more clouds, a little breeze, chilliness, warmth. No snow or tornadoes, true—but there was mud underfoot, melting snow, potential energy in the sap of the leafless trees. Birds.

Three crows at Beech Hill this late-afternoon. Three robins, too. A singing cardinal, a singing titmouse. Returning after my summit hike with Jack, had had a little rush of jubilation at the certainty of warmer days, long bicycle rides, wood-warblers, kestrels, the sun’s arc heightened, a swim at evening. Everything.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 4:45 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Mourning dove*
2. Black-capped chickadee** (v)
3. American crow*
4. American robin*
5. Tufted titmouse (v)
6. Northern cardinal (v)


7. Blue jay (v)
8. House finch (v)
9. European starling
10. Herring gull
11. Rock pigeon
12. American woodcock (v)

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


Wednesday, March 27th, 2013
Northern shrike, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 March 2013.

Northern shrike.

Today dawned gray and damp. I’d already heard the rush of car tires on wet roads from bed before the sun came up. I also heard a titmouse out there. And crows.

Pussy willow, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 March 2013.

Pussy willow.

Was drippy at the end of the day, also, as Jack and I sidestepped great patches of mud on the open Beech Hill trail. (Jack does this, in fact—deftly avoids bad slop.) Lots of birds there: dove and cardinal singing brightly, voice of a jay, a secretive songbird flitting in the little bare trees that I couldn’t identify. Coming up the slope, I spotted a little small perched at the tip of the little oak tree. Before I could even get a good look I knew it was the shrike. As we got near it, it began to sing.

That’s a rare gift at this latitude: hearing the song of a shrike. I’ve heard it three or four times now, and I like it.

But not as much as I like the spring display of the American woodcock. He’s out there again tonight, in light rain.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 4:45 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. American robin
2. Blue jay (v)
3. Black-capped chickadee** (v)
4. Mourning dove (v)
5. Northern cardinal** (v)
6. American crow*
7. Northern shrike


8. Tufted titmouse (v)
9. House finch (v)
10. Herring gull
11. Rock pigeon
12. Mallard
13. American woodcock (v)

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

Signs of spring

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
Turkey vulture, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 26 March 2013.

Turkey vulture.

Woodcocks are back. Well, I know they’ve been back for a while—poking around in alder swamps and other wet spots here and there—but now they’re back in my neighborhood. I heard one tonight across the road, under a full moon. My own personal first signal that spring has truly arrived.

Dog and I had a good Beech Hill hike today. Spitting snow while we were there. Same three species as yesterday—including a good look at a pair of turkey vultures just as we began to drive away. That’s right, a pair of TVs. Another sure sign of spring.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 4:30 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Black-capped chickadee** (v)
2. American crow*
3. Turkey vulture


4. Tufted titmouse (v)
5. House finch (v)
6. European starling
7. Herring gull
8. Rock pigeon
9. American woodcock† (v)

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere
†First of year

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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