22 July 2024

Archive for December, 2014

Encircled by waxwings

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014
Bohemian Waxwings, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 31 December 2014.

Bohemian Waxwings.

This cold clear day—cold enough that the ponds are freezing over finally—while hiking Beech Hill with my dog, Jack, I noticed a group of four Bohemian Waxwings perched in the bare branches of a small tree. We stopped so I could try for some distant photos. They took wing. And while we stood there on the trail, they flew our way and got very near and low and I realized they were wanting to alight on a winter berry bush not five or six feet away from us.

False start, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 31 December 2014.

False start.

The birds called softly as they circled the bush—a sweet, burry call unlike the thin plaintive voice of Cedar Waxwings—then flew around back of us, circled us and the bush again, calling all the while, and I could hear their wingbeats and we stood still and I hoped so hard for them to ignore us standing there and wind up in the braches of the winterberry bush.

But they didn’t. They nearly did, but they didn’t—they veered away and back to the branches of a tree not far from where I first saw them.

So I didn’t get the photo. But what an amazing fifteen or twenty seconds of being encircled by a flock of winter waxwings.

There were small furtive flocks of American Tree Sparrows up there, too, today. And even I found a budding pussy willow.

Tomorrow, the calendar changes.

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

1. White-breasted Nuthatch (v)
2. American Tree Sparrow
3. Black-capped Chickadee
4. Tufted Titmouse (v)
5. Bohemian Waxwing


6. American Crow
7. Herring Gull

v = Voice only
**Voice only elsewhere

Bohemian Waxwing, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 31 December 2014.

Bohemian Waxwing.

Finally, ice

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014
Red-tailed Hawk, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 30 December 2014.

Red-tailed Hawk.

Got colder for my birthday. I kind of didn’t mind. Supposed to be cold now. Heck, we’re supposed to be ice skating the week after Christmas—and, sure enough, a skim of ice had formed on the ponds I passed this sunny day.

Ice and rocks, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 30 December 2014.

Ice and rocks.

Passed a couple. Mostly worked indoors, with sunlight streaming through the windows. Grabbed dog in mid-afternoon, and we hiked up the breezy, freezy hill along with another couple dozen people (and one other dog). Heard a crow and saw a hawk. Saw other birds driving around doing a few quick errands.

Tonight, though, a birthday gift: got a glimpse of new comet Lovejoy through binoculars in the crisp darkness a minute ago. It’s that smudge I saw below the star below Rigel, the brightest of Orion’s suns.

Crisp darkness, twinkling stars.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 1:45 p.m., i hiked the open trail.

1. American Crow* (v)
2. Red-tailed Hawk


3. Black-capped Chickadee (v)
4. Herring Gull
5. Rock Pigeon
6. European Starling
7. Northern Cardinal (v)

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere


Happy blue

Monday, December 29th, 2014
Atmosphere, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 29 December 2014.


A clear, bright, and coldish morning. A bit of a breeze. To work early, a lot of goings on there, finally out for an early-afternoon hike with Jack. Not a lot of birds around—at least not within our periphery—but a nice pale moon in a happy blue sky.

Just a couple days until a new year, by the calendar.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 1:45 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Black-capped Chickadee** (v)
2. American Crow*
3. Herring Gull*


4. White-breasted Nuthatch (v)
5. Mallard

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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