17 April 2024

Archive for August, 2013


Saturday, August 31st, 2013


Cedar waxwing, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 31 August 2013.

Cedar waxwing.

Big thunderstorm blew through last night. Heard the thunder, heard the rain come, lay there thankful that I my open windows would not let any rain in. This morning, much of the rain had dried already, and some fog had collected. I found myself excited for the first Saturday of college football season.

Song sparrow, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 31 August 2013.

Song sparrow.

Wrote some, did some type design. Thought of riding my bicycle but decided not to—instead, I took Jack to Beech Hill a little early. Hazy still, bright enough but no direct sun peeking through. And right away we encountered a swarm of warblers.

Well, not only warblers. Red-eyed vireos, as well as Blackburnian and black-throated green and yellow-rumped warblers and common yellowthroats. Jays and a calling red-bellied woodpecker and a ton of cedar waxwings up the slope. The waxwings were perched at the ends of the leafy branches of scrubby trees and would leap in the air and hover and return to their branches. It didn’t take me long to see what they were up to: swarms of flies were drifting around, and the waxwings were interested in vacuuming them in. I stood a while and attempted photos.

At the summit, an alder flycatcher was likewise catching swarming flies. More yell0w-rumpes up there. A song sparrow. The cry of a towhee.

Back down toward the parking lot, again warblers were everywhere, poking about in the trees. A parula, black-throated green, others I’m sure I missed identifying. Also a few titmice. I heard a nuthatch.

Fall migration excites me more, I think, than spring does. Something about it being not so much a want as a need.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 3:30 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Blue jay
2. Black-capped chickadee**
3. Red-eyed vireo**
4. Gray catbird
5. Tufted titmouse
6. White-breasted nuthatch (v)
7. Blackburnian warbler
8. American goldfinch**
9. Red-bellied woodpecker (v)
10. Cedar waxwing**
11. Common yellowthroat
12. Song sparrow
13. Yellow-rumped warbler
14. American crow*
15. Alder flycatcher
16. Eastern towhee (v)
17. Black-throated green warbler
18. Northern parula


17. Herring gull
18. Mourning dove

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


Rare time of year

Friday, August 30th, 2013
Black-billed cuckoo, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 30 August 2013.

Black-billed cuckoo.

You work much of the day, you take a brisk bike ride, you go for a hike. Some days not much happens. Some days you have a bike crash and break your collarbone. And some days you come upon a cuckoo making crazy clock!-like sounds.

Sunburst, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 30 August 2013.


Or maybe it was gluck! Or kolack! I forget exactly. But I knew it wasn’t your typical shy catbird in the bush right beside the Beech Hill trail.

Jack was patient. I actually dropped the leash to try to get a photo of the bird, and he didn’t budge an inch (although I snuck about twenty feet away). So later, at the summit, I dropped the leash again while he was doing his favorite thing in the world: rolling around in the luxuriant grass.

Also at the summit, we arrived about the same time as a young red-tail and a nice couple who had just emerged from the wooded trail. Chatted a while about the hawk, ticks, and other subjects.

Otherwise, it was a hike of sun and tall, dramatic clouds; dragonflies veering back and forth above the gone-by blueberry barrens; crickets chirping and trilling from every direction.

It’s a truly nice, rare time of year.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 5:15 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Eastern towhee (v)
2. American goldfinch** (v)
3. Cedar waxwing
4. Black-billed cuckoo
5. Song sparrow
6. Red-tailed hawk
7. Yellow-rumped warbler (v)
8. American crow* (v)
9. Blue jay
10. Eastern phoebe


11. Herring gull
12. Rock pigeon
13. Mourning dove
14. Northern cardinal (v)

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


Turning seasons

Thursday, August 29th, 2013
Yellow-rumped warbler, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 29 August 2013.

Yellow-rumped warbler.

Overcast today and kind of cool. A bit of a blustery wind. Families of chickadees and red-eyed vireos are flitting about the trees out back. Crows hollering all over the place. I didn’t ride my bicycle for the second straight day.

Apples, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 29 August 2013.


But I did hike Beech Hill with Jack.

Quiet up there (the wind had died down), with only faint hints of birds—chickadee, goldfinch, jay with a nut. Happened to look in the right place for a catbird. Heard a late-season wood-pewee. Quite a few people on the hill, including a yoga class on mats behind the hut. A few yellow-rumps moving through the trees down the eastern slope, where we walked so I could finally eat a couple blackberries before they’re gone. Ripening apples.

On our return, Jack noticed movement in a bush between the trail and the lower blueberry field. Turkeys. Two hens and about a half dozen youngsters. They all flew up into the trees.

Chilly tonight. You can feel the turning seasons in the air.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 5:30 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Black-capped chickadee* (v)
2. Blue jay
3. American goldfinch**
4. Eastern wood-pewee (v)
5. Cedar waxwing
6. Gray catbird
7. American crow*
8. Song sparrow
9. Yellow-rumped warbler
10. Wild turkey
11. Eastern towhee


12. Red-eyed vireo
13. Herring gull
14. Rock pigeon
15. Double-crested cormorant

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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