24 June 2024

Archive for June, 2014

Quiet on the hill

Monday, June 30th, 2014
American Redstart nest, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 30 June 2014.

American Redstart nest.

Glued to my desk all day, it being a busier-than-even-usual Monday. Finally got out for a hike with dog after 5 p.m.

Mourning Dove, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 30 June 2014.

Mourning Dove.

We only met one person hiking along on the Beech Hill trail today. Otherwise, the hot, sunny summer day had gone hazy and warm, with a good breeze and a lot of subtle bird calls. Fact is, I only saw six species up there today (out of nineteen on my list), and one of those was a Great Blue Heron in flight. The coolest thing was locating—finally, after knowing it was there for weeks—the American Redstart nest in the small tree near the trailhead. It’s empty now. (See yesterday’s post.)

Quiet up there. Quiet in the world, in my world. Kind of going it solo for the time being—well, not counting Jack, my dog.

Many fireflies out there tonight, hovering low in the undergrowth and high in the secret rooms beneath the canopy of oaks, their flashes slow and rapid and silent. A firefly represent perhaps the most magical phenomenon on our miraculous tilted planet.

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

1. Chipping Sparrow
2. Red-eyed Vireo** (v)
3. Veery (v)
4. American Redstart**
5. Song Sparrow** (v)
6. Rose-breasted Grosbeak (v)
7. American Goldfinch (v)
8. Yellow Warbler** (v)
9. Common Yellowthroat (v)
10. Eastern Towhee
11. Great Blue Heron
12. American Robin (v)
13. Alder Flycatcher (v)
14. Gray Catbird (v)
15. Field Sparrow (v)
16. Mourning Dove*
17. Savannah Sparrow (v)
18. Ovenbird (v)
19. Cedar Waxwing


20. American Crow
21. House Sparrow
22. Herring Gull
22. Rock Pigeon
23. Black-throated Green Warbler
24. Common Grackle

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

Eastern Tiger Swallotwail, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 30 June 2014.

Eastern Tiger Swallotwail.


Feeding time

Sunday, June 29th, 2014
American redstart (fledgling), Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 29 June 2014.

American redstart (fledgling).

Today was something of a scorcher—by Maine standards, anyway. Nice and warm and sunny, but with a little breeze that cooled things down in the shade. I got a lot done. Got some desk work done, got some landscaping done, got some vacuuming done, removed some unused wiring both inside and outside. Wasn’t until late in the day that dog and I hit the hill (likely a wise move).

A couple cars at the main Beech Hill Preserve parking lot. The trail was dry and buggy—in the shade I mean, with mosquitoes all over the place. But I have come to rather like mosquitoes, since birds eat ’em.

Heard a Pileated Woodpecker right away. (Noteworthy, I think, because I haven’t had any woodpeckers on my list recently, and this morning I heard a Hairy Woodpecker in the trees out back of my place.) In fact, the first ten species on my list I simply heard. The first bird I saw, ironically, was a Herring Gull circling above us, and Herring Gulls rarely make an appearance up there. Not much to pique their fancy.

No photos, though. I took a shot of my favorite birch tree, of course, considering I do that every day. I took a shot of a butterfly I’d taken a shot of just a few days ago. I took another shot of the blueberries. By the time Jack and I had returned to the parking lot, I didn’t have squat in the way of photos. So I figured, what the hell, I’ll just hang around the leafy area around the lot and see what I might could see.

Good move, because soon I heard a scolding warbler very near us. It was a female American Redstart, and from her behavior I knew there had to be a young bird (or birds) about. Didn’t take me long to spot the little solitary fledgling perched on the branch of an apple tree. Jack stood there patiently for about ten or fifteen minutes while I worked to get some sort of decent photo in the dim light of the shade. And/or a video.

Turns out I got both.

Which all is to say that I had a very fruitful day today. Second one in a row.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 4:15 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Pileated Woodpecker (v)
2. Red-eyed Vireo** (v)
3. American Redstart**
4. Song Sparrow** (v)
5. Rose-breasted Grosbeak (v)
6. Cedar Waxwing (v)
7. Chipping Sparrow** (v)
8. American Goldfinch (v)
9. Common Yellowthroat** (v)
10. Yellow Warbler**
11. Herring Gull*
12. Field Sparrow (v)
13. Eastern Towhee (v)
14. Savannah Sparrow
15. American Robin (v)
16. Ovenbird (v)
17. American Crow* (v)
18. Veery (v)
19. Black-and-white Warbler (v)
20. Black-throated Green Warbler (v)


21. Hairy Woodpecker
22. House Finch (v)
23. House Sparrow
24. Red-winged Blackbird
25. Double-crested Cormorant
26. Common Grackle

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


A young, waxing moon

Saturday, June 28th, 2014
Savannah Sparrow, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 28 June 2014.

Savannah Sparrow.

All right, this was just one of those days. One of those rare days that combined warm, sunny weather—alongside cool shady places and wind to evaporate the sweat and birdsong and motion and accomplishment and hard work and unexpected pleasantries—with a sense of purpose and hope and optimism and looking forward. A peak-experience sort of day. They don’t come often, but when they do…

Aphrodite Fritillary, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 28 June 2014.

Aphrodite Fritillary.

Had some ideas early, acted on them, got busy, worked on some stuff, changed some things, cleaned up some longstanding messes, made a dump run, rode twenty miles on my bicycle—stopping to buy butter at one place, a bottle of beer at another, and, at a third, a cool, sweet glass of lemonade from a makeshift roadside stand managed by a couple of very friendly children. Cleaned up some things. Physically and mentally. And then took my dog on a hike at Beech Hill Preserve.

Lovely, lovely day up there. I wore shorts, a flimsy shirt, and sandals; Jack went naked. Warmth, brightness, slight breeze, singing birds—singing more than they have been in the past several days, in fact—and even a glimpse of what I’m gonna say was an Upland Sandpiper in flight above the summit barrens.

The little blueberries are growing fast. Seems it might be an early season.

I also cooked a great batch of sofrito, used it on my burrito. Today felt better than any day for a while, that’s for sure.

I wonder if it had to do with a young, waxing moon.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 2:15 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Red-eyed Vireo** (v)
3. American Goldfinch**
4. American Redstart**
5. Song Sparrow**
6. American Robin* (v)
7. Chipping Sparrow** (v)
8. Common Yellowthroat**
9. Cedar Waxwing (v)
10. Yellow Warbler** (v)
11. Eastern Towhee (v)
12. Gray Catbird (v)
13. American Crow*
14. Field Sparrow (v)
15. Veery (v)
16. Savannah Sparrow
17. Herring Gull*
18. Upland Sandpiper
19. Ovenbird** (v)
20. Rose-breasted Grosbeak (v)
21. Mourning Dove*
22. Nashville Warbler (v)
23. White-breasted Nuthatch (v)
24. Purple Finch


25. Northern Cardinal (v)
26. Blue Jay (v)
27. Black-throated Green Warbler (v)
28. Red-winged Blackbird
29. Great Black-backed Gull
30. Northern Parula (v)
31. Tufted Titmouse (v)

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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