22 July 2024

Archive for August, 2014

The end of August

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Cedar Waxwing, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 28 August 2014.

Cedar Waxwing.

It’s such an interesting time of year. The hills are thick with tangles and berry brambles, the light is harsh and angular. The wind rises swiftly from the west—and has a bit of a bite to it.

Inland Hills, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 28 August 2014.

Inland Hills.

For the first time in a while, I have more species on my “Elsewhere” list than my “Beech Hill” one. Just so much wind up there.

Nice bike ride. Nice hike with Jack.

Still three days left in August.

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

1. Black-capped Chickadee** (v)
2. Cedar Waxwing**
3. Song Sparrow
4. Osprey


5. American Crow
6. Laughing Gull (v)
7. Herring Gull
8. American Goldfinch (v)
9. Tufted Titmouse (v)
10. Northern Cardinal (v)
11. Rock Pigeon
12. Mourning Dove
13. Ring-billed Gull

v = Voice only
**Voice only elsewhere



Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
Yellow-rumped Warbler, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 27 August 2014.

Yellow-rumped Warbler.

The ’rumps are back. The Yellow-rumped Warblers, I mean.

American Lady, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 27 August 2014.

American Lady.

There are gazillions of Yellow-rumped Warblers in this hemisphere. Hardy and adaptable, these little migratory passerines are not likely to land on the Endangered Species List any time soon. However, they nest quite a ways north of here, so we only see floods of them during migration—in April and May, for example, when they course through in droves, uttering their distinctive, woody chip! note.

Well, today I came upon a little flock of these chipsters in the spruce stand at the summit of Beech Hill. Youngsters, I think, mostly. But that means one thing: the birds are nervous, and on the move.

I love this latter part of summer, a time of butterflies and dragonflies and cicadas and tentative-sounding tree frogs. The thrill is in the air—the mild panic, the nudge, the certainty of the coming chill. Time’s a wasting, and the yellowrumps are back to remind us.

Many of my friends are lamenting the fact of the first red leaves, the nippy nights, the shortening of the photoperiod. I suppose, since humans crave warmth, it’s a bittersweet time. But I love the invigorating feel of waning summer.

Monarch, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 27 August 2014.


And autumn’s always been my favorite season.

P.S. I saw another monarch today. Could things be looking up?

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

1. American Goldfinch** (v)
2. Cedar Waxwing
3. Common Yellowthroat
4. Gray Catbird (v)
5. Eastern Towhee (v)
6. Yellow-rumped Warbler
7. White-throated Sparrow
8. Purple Finch
9. Savannah Sparrow
10. Song Sparrow
11. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker


12. American Crow
13. House Sparrow (v)
14. Laughing Gull
15. Herring Gull
16. Black-capped Chickadee
17. Eastern Wood-pewee (v)

v = Voice only
**Voice only elsewhere


Big news

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
Monarch, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 26 August 2014.


I saw a monarch butterfly today. In fact, I’m pretty sure I saw two—a second one in the distance, headed south—but I got a great look at one as it fluttered around Jack and me on our late-in-the-day hike to the summit of Beech Hill Preserve.

Southern arrowweed berries, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 26 August 2014.

Southern arrowweed berries.

I also rode my bike around today, did some errands, did some desk work, and thought about stuff. But the main thing was the monarch.

That’s big news, in my view, because of their sudden, precipitous decline—by as much as ninety percent, some say—thanks to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, a particularly potent killer of milkweed, which monarchs, those tiny, miraculous migrants, love. Rather than get creative, and use their imaginations, humans like to kill stuff that gets in their way. And suddenly monarchs are under consideration for the Endangered Species List.

But that’s all right, because Nature will solve everything one day.

P.S. Very few birds on the hill day, maybe because of the heat and the wind and a need to hide the youngsters.

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

1. Song Sparrow
2. American Crow*
3. Cedar Waxwing
4. Common Yellowthroat
5. Herring Gull*
6. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
7. Black-capped Chickadee** (v)
8. Blue Jay**


9. Laughing Gull (v)
10. Northern Cardinal (v)
11. European Starling
12. Mourning Dove

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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