28 February 2024

Archive for June, 2013

Misty, cloudy, foggy

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
Eastern bluebird, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 27 June 2013.

Eastern bluebird.

Misty morning, cloudy day, foggy afternoon. Awoke to a chill that did not go away. Had a 7 a.m. appointment, then had urgent desk work, then had to run errands. By late in the day, when Jack and I managed to hit Beech Hill finally, the day had gone sort of gloomy. Birds were around, but they were hiding out. About half way up the lower wooded trail, I heard a tanager. We veered off and down into an open area of tall trees and old criss-crossing stone walls in pursuit.

Chipping sparrow, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 27 June 2013.

Chipping sparrow.

Probably spent twenty minutes looking for the bird, but when at last our path toward its voice was blocked by a big patch of poison ivy, we turned around.

Yellowthroats scolding at the foggy summit. Bluebirds down in the lower blueberry fields. Chipping sparrows with noisy fledglings.

A flicker on the upper wooded trail.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 4:30 p.m., I hiked all trails.

1. Red-eyed vireo** (v)
2. Ovenbird**
3. Common yellowthroat**
4. Chestnut-sided warbler (v)
5. Hermit thrush (v)
6. Veery
7. Eastern wood-pewee (v)
8. American redstart (v)
9. Gray catbird**
10. Scarlet tanager (v)
11. Blue jay** (v)
12. Black-throated green warbler (v)
13. Black-capped chickadee
14. American crow* (v)
15. American robin**
16. Eastern towhee
17. Alder flycatcher (v)
18. House finch**
19. Savannah sparrow
20. Song sparrow**
21. Yellow warbler**
22. Mourning dove*
23. Purple finch (v)
24. Eastern bluebird
25. White-breasted nuthatch (v)
26. Chipping sparrow
27. Field sparrow (v)
28. American goldfinch (v)
29. Herring gull* (v)
30. Northern flicker


31. Northern cardinal
32. European starling
33. Rock pigeon
34. Common grackle

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


The woods

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
Eastern bluebird, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 26 June 2013.

Eastern bluebird.

I love the woods. Just love to be in a forest or woodland, out among the trees. I have loved it for as long as I can remember—or, more particularly, since I was an impressionable nine- or ten-year-old, when my family moved to Durham, North Carolina, and bought a house whose backyard ended in a small section of piny wilderness. This corresponded with my first steps away by myself, my first solo excursions, still near enough to home to return in a hurry. I loved walking through the woods back there, loved the smell, the dimness, the lumps and shapes and vines undergrowth and frogs and snakes and sap-sticky pines. I loved to shimmy up those pines—and even named a tree with double trunks “The Twin Angels.” My parents had long since given up on making me and my sister go to Sunday School, and so the woods became my rightful church. Quiet, mysterious, a place to worship the miracle of life on a tilted planet.

Hermit thrush (immature).

Hermit thrush (immature).

Don’t you be talking too loudly when deep in the woods, because it’s still church for me.

Today began with rain and brightened briefly before turning overcast again. I had early work to do, so Jack and I didn’t make it to Beech hill until mid-afternoon, and by that time, a misty fog was rolling in. I decided to take the lower wooded trail to the summit—the darkest trail, with the tallest trees, most like the inside of a cathedral.

Right away I heard the miraculous song of a hermit thrush—and even saw the singing bird.

Soon after, as I’d stopped to scan for a calling a redstart, a female black-and-white warbler flitted to a branch so near that I couldn’t focus my camera on her. What a lovely, silent bird.

Also got a look at a speckled young thrush whose identity I’m still not sure of.

As we left the woods for the open fields, the mist began to rise, and my birding became a matter of listening. Heard another cuckoo. Heard yellowthroats, alder flycatchers, waxwings. Down toward the road, I got a good glimpse of a bluebird.

Returning through the woods we surprised a family of downy woodpeckers. I believe one was a youngster, and its mother was not amused.

Wild rose, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 26 June 2013.

Wild rose.

It began to rain a little when we arrived back at the truck. But it didn’t really start coming down until we were driving home.

Just another perfect day.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 2:30 p.m., I hiked all trails.

1. Red-eyed vireo** (v)
2. Common yellowthroat**
3. Ovenbird
4. Black-throated green warbler (v)
5. Great crested flycatcher (v)
6. Veery
7. Hermit thrush**
8. American goldfinch (v)
9. Chestnut-sided warbler**
10. Black-and-white warbler
11. American crow* (v)
12. Gray catbird**
13. Eastern towhee
14. Eastern wood-pewee (v)
15. Black-capped chickadee (v)
16. American redstart (v)
17. Blackburnian warbler
18. Gray catbird**
19. Eastern phoebe** (v)
20. Cedar waxwing
21. House finch (v)
22. Savannah sparrow
23. Yellow warbler** (v)
24. Alder flycatcher (v)
25. Field sparrow (v)
26. Black-billed cuckoo (v)
27. American robin** (v)
28. Blue jay** (v)
29. Chipping sparrow (v)
30. Purple finch (v)
31. Eastern bluebird
32. Song sparrow**
33. Tufted titmouse (v)
34. Northern flicker
35. Downy woodpecker


36. Herring gull
37. Northern cardinal (v)

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


Oh, well

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013
Blackburnian warbler, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 25 June 2013.

Blackburnian warbler.

I did not expect to hear and/or see so many bird species at Beech Hill this morning. (This “not expecting” stuff has gone way beyond a trend.) All the usual suspects showed up—and also such less common suspects as black-billed cuckoo, eastern bluebird, and Blackburnian warbler.

Tiger swallowtail, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 25 June 2013.

Tiger swallowtail.

But in fact, those last two have become less uncommon lately. I’ve had the Blackburnian—same individual, I’m sure—on my list for most of the last week, and bluebirds have been active nearly every day down in the lower fields. Also black-throated blue warblers—or warbler. (Probably also the same bird.) And scarlet tanager, I might add, although this latest one tends to sing a six-note phrase.

The highlight was the cuckoo. Heard him first, then spotted him when he popped up into the edge of a bush at the edge of a thicket. Got my camera ready—and he flew. (Naturally.) I similarly missed a nice shot of a veery, and a great crested flycatcher, and the bluebird.

Oh, well.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 7:30 a.m., I hiked all trails.

1. Red-eyed vireo** (v)
2. Ovenbird**
3. Black-throated green warbler** (v)
4. Eastern phoebe (v)
5. Common yellowthroat** (v)
6. Eastern towhee
7. Chestnut-sided warbler**
8. Veery
9. American crow*
10. Black-and-white warbler (v)
11. Gray catbird**
12. Hairy woodpecker (v)
13. Black-capped chickadee**
14. Yellow warbler** (v)
15. Alder flycatcher (v)
16. Cedar waxwing**
17. Eastern wood-pewee**
18. Hermit thrush
19. American goldfinch**
20. Song sparrow**
21. House finch**
22. Savannah sparrow
23. Field sparrow
24. Tufted titmouse** (v)
25. Northern flicker (v)
26. Rose-breasted grosbeak (v)
27. American robin**
28. Eastern bluebird
29. Black-billed cuckoo
30. Northern cardinal** (v)
31. Purple finch (v)
32. Brown-headed cowbird (v)
33. American redstart (v)
34. White-breasted nuthatch (v)
35. Great crested flycatcher
36. Tree swallow
37. Blackburnian warbler
38. Black-throated blue warbler (v)
39. Scarlet tanager (v)
40. Mourning dove* (v)
41. Blue jay** (v)


42. Herring gull
43. European starling
44. Great black-backed gull
45. Chipping sparrow (v)
46. Northern parula (v)
47. Turkey vulture

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only 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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