24 June 2024

Archive for May, 2013

Hot love

Friday, May 31st, 2013
Chestnut-sided warbler courtship, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 31 May 2013.

Chestnut-sided warbler courtship.

Well, the heat moved in. Very early, as Jack and I started up the wooded Beech Hill trail, it was already warm—70s (F), I bet. Not as many mosquitos as yesterday, but still many. Not as much mud, but mud. Not so many cuckoos, but I did actually catch sight of one today.

Yellow warbler courtship, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 31 May 2013.

Yellow warbler courtship.

I also caught sight of a couple pair of courting warblers, both in the brushy field edge just below the summit. First a noisy pair of chestnut-sided warblers—well, the male was the noisy one—and then a pair of yellow warblers. Also heard a booming grouse very near. Also chasing ovenbirds. Singing cuckoos, of course. Nesting phoebes and robins. And another tanager calling down in the lower woodlands.

The heat rose. A pair of ospreys flew over.

This late-afternoon, I rode my bicycle around for a while, working up a good sweat. Just before the Route 1 turn toward Rockport Village, I heard insistent staccato cries and looked up to see a sharp-shinned hawk sort of gliding along above the trees. The temperature must’ve peaked at about 90 or so. Right now, tonight, it’s still pretty darn warm.

What a crazy, crazy May it’s been.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 6:45 a.m., I hiked all trails.

1. Ovenbird
2. Red-eyed vireo**
3. Black-throated green warbler** (v)
4. Chestnut-sided warbler**
5. American robin*
6. Veery**
7. American goldfinch** (v)
8. Common yellowthroat**
9. Gray catbird**
10. Eastern towhee
11. American redstart**
12. Black-capped chickadee** (v)
13. Ruffed grouse (booming)
14. Yellow warbler**
15. Mourning dove (v)
16. Alder flycatcher
17. Black-and-white warbler (v)
18. Eastern wood-pewee
19. Tufted titmouse** (v)
20. American crow*
21. Song sparrow**
22. Black-billed cuckoo
23. Chipping sparrow
24. Eastern phoebe**
25. Savannah sparrow
26. Blue jay
27. Field sparrow
28. Rose-breasted grosbeak (v)
29. Nashville warbler (v)
30. Purple finch (v)
31. Common raven
32. Osprey**
33. Hermit thrush (v)
34. Scarlet tanager (v)


35. Herring gull
36. European starling
37. Laughing gull (v)
38. Rock pigeon
39. Common grackle
40. Sharp-shinned hawk

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



Thursday, May 30th, 2013
Eastern phoebe, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 May 2013.

Eastern phoebe (and prey).

I had expected a mostly cloudy morning, but the sky was clear when the sun came up, so—despite a late bedtime last night—I hopped out of bed, yanked on some clothes, grabbed my dog, and drove about five miles and hour above the speed limit (livin’ dangerously!) to Beech Hill.

Mourning dove, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 May 2013.

Mourning dove.

Although you could already tell it would be a warm one, one of the pieces of clothing I yanked on was a hooded sweatshirt. That’s because I knew there would be mosquitos. And there were. Dozens. Hundreds, millions. Well, a lot. More than once I ended up with my hood over my head and my hands in my front pocket. And, alas, more than once I missed a nice bird photo.

Not because of the sweatshirt, just fate. Because there were tons of birds. The main species I had my eye—well, ear—on was black-billed cuckoo. Early on I heard one calling its subtle (but carrying) cu-cu-cu-cu. Then another toward the summit. And another down the other side of the hill. At least three singing cuckoos. Even before we’d jumped into the truck, I had the idea of getting a photo of one. I’ve gotten a few in the past, but they’re not great. Cuckoos are shy birds. You’ve really got to luck into a photo, in my experience—hard to plan one out.

Still, I tried stalking, More than once. Mosquitos buzzing around. Thought I might’ve gotten a glimpse once, but that was about it.

Also heard a blackpoll warbler (not abundant up there) whose voice also carries—and has the added quality of seeming omnidirectional. That bird was right up there, but I just couldn’t lay my eyes on it. Until it flew.

American lady, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 May 2013.

American lady.

At least I got a lucky shot of a phoebe at Beech Nut. And a listen to a pine warbler’s song back home this afternoon.

Maybe I’ll get that cuckoo tomorrow.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 8 a.m., I hiked all trails.

1. Ovenbird** (v)
2. Black-throated green warbler** (v)
3. American goldfinch**
4. Chestnut-sided warbler**
5. Red-eyed vireo** (v)
6. Black-and-white warbler** (v)
7. American robin
8. Common yellowthroat**
9. Eastern phoebe**
10. Black-capped chickadee**
11. Tufted titmouse** (v)
12. Gray catbird** (v)
13. Eastern towhee
14. Black-billed cuckoo (v)
15. American redstart**
16. American crow*
17. Eastern wood-pewee (v)
18. Yellow warbler**
19. Alder flycatcher
20. Mourning dove*
21. Common raven
22. Hermit thrush (v)
23. Blue jay (v)
24. Tree swallow
25. Savannah sparrow
26. Song sparrow**
27. Nashville warbler (v)
28. Rose-breasted grosbeak (v)
29. Field sparrow
30. Blackpoll warbler
31. Brown-headed cowbird (v)
32. Red-bellied woodpecker (v)
33. Black-throated blue warbler (v)
34. Least flycatcher (v)


35. House finch
36. Herring gull
37. European starling
38. Rock pigeon
39. Laughing gull (v)
40. Pine warbler (v)

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


Foggy, rainy, cool

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013


Chestnut-sided warbler, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 May 2013.

Chestnut-sided warbler.

I had thought about delaying my hike with Jack today, knowing it would be foggy, rainy, and cool, but when I checked the weather radar, I noticed a thick mass of green getting very near our general area. So we high-tailed it for Beech Hill.

Northern cardinal, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 May 2013.

Northern cardinal.

And we hiked at a quicker pace than usual. (Figured I wouldn’t get many chances for spectacular photos anyway.) By damn, quite a few birds were singing, perhaps anticipating the coming weather. The usual species, mostly, but also a loon out in the fog somewhere, a particularly vociferous cardinal (pretty sure it’s the hill’s only resident redbird), and another black-billed cuckoo holding forth. But perhaps the nicest surprise, for me, was catching sight of a silent great crested flycatcher hunting near the tops of the young trees just below the summit fields.

That’s about the time it began to rain, as it did—lightly—our whole trip back down. Then I drove around to fill out my report at the open trailhead, where I heard a rose-breasted grosbeak and a Nashville warbler.

The rest of today was foggy, rainy, cool, and mostly spent inside.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 8 a.m., I hiked the wooded trails.

1. Ovenbird**
2. Red-eyed vireo** (v)
3. Black-throated green warbler**
4. Chestnut-sided warbler**
5. American robin
6. Common yellowthroat** (v)
7. Eastern towhee
8. Black-capped chickadee (v)
9. Gray catbird** (v)
10. Black-and-white warbler (v)
11. American goldfinch (v)
12. American redstart
13. Veery
14. Yellow warbler**
15. Eastern wood-pewee
16. Northern cardinal**
17. Great crested flycatcher
18. Common loon (v)
19. Alder flycatcher (v)
20. Song sparrow (v)
21. Hermit thrush (v)
22. Eastern phoebe
23. Black-billed cuckoo (v)
24. Tufted titmouse (v)
25. Hairy woodpecker (drumming)
26. Black-throated blue warbler (v)
27. Rose-breasted grosbeak (v)
28. Nashville warbler (v)


29. American crow
30. Herring gull
31. Mourning dove
32. Common grackle

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

Great crested flycatcher, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 May 2013.

Great crested flycatcher.

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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