14 April 2024

Archive for March, 2016


Thursday, March 31st, 2016
Eastern Phoebe, near Mount Battie, Camden, Maine, 31 March 2016.

Eastern Phoebe.

I think gray might be my favorite color. It’s not lightless black, it’s not some unique and prismatic color—just a half-way shade, a pensive one, kind of imbued with all of it.

Three crows playing in the wind, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 31 March 2016.

Three crows playing in the wind.

Today dawned warm, had a little sun early, but by afternoon, it had gone dim and overcast. The temperature reached well into the 50s (F), and a high wind rose. Sat at my desk until mid-afternoon—where the highlight of the morning was the song of a first-of-year Eastern Phoebe right outside my window—then went with my dog to Beech Hill Preserve. I bet you knew it would happen eventually, didn’t you?

The rush of the wind was so loud in the trees that my ear couldn’t make out many bird voices—other than the Northern Cardinals, a couple of them, singing loudly down by the parking lot. Heard crows, too. And down by the bay I saw a little cloud of gulls. And then I heard a flicker, and later spotted a chickadee.

The big excitement, though, for me, was the dance of the crows in the wind. Three, four, five of them were chasing and pairing off and seemingly playing up there—way up there. Riding the wind. One would suddenly take off after another, hollering like crazy as the chased bird dodged and veered. Another would just sail and turn and spin up above the rest. I saw three go by in formation. I saw two pair off and flap-flap, sail, almost in unison.

They were playing up there, I’m sure of it. Spring fever?

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 3:15 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Northern Cardinal* (v)
2. American Crow*
3. Herring Gull*
4. Northern Flicker (v)
5. Black-capped Chickadee**


6. Blue Jay (v)
7. Tufted Titmouse (v)
8. House Finch (v)
9. Eastern Phoebe†
10. Red-bellied Woodpecker (v)
11. Downy Woodpecker (v)
12. Rock Pigeon
13. Mourning Dove (v)
14. House Sparrow
15. Dark-eyed Junco (v)
16. American Robin
17. Common Grackle†

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere
†First-of-year bird


Two hikes

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016
From the roof, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 30 March 2016.

From the roof.

I had a date to help fix the Beech Nut chimney screen this afternoon, and knowing Jack would not be able to climb the ladder—and yet would feel terribly left out nonetheless—I took him to Beech Hill early, so we could get a nice hike in. It was wondrous up there this morning: raw, chilly, bracing, fresh, clean, bright, all kinds of shades of brown.

Northern Cardinal, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 30 March 2016.

Northern Cardinal.

Counted ten bird species early. nothing outlandish, but still.

Then in afternoon I told Jack I’d be right back and met up with Jackie to help fix the chimney screen. Really windy afternoon, but warmer and cloudless—the picture of early spring. As several hikers came and went, we powered through, took care of the repair. I didn’t fall off the roof.

Pretty nice view from up there.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 9:15 a.m.—and again at 3:30 p.m.‡—I hiked the open trail.

1. American Crow*
2. Black-capped Chickadee*
3. American Robin*
8. Song Sparrow*
7. Northern Cardinal**
6. Blue Jay* (v)
7. Mourning Dove*
8. American Goldfinch
9. Tufted Titmouse** (v)
10. Turkey Vulture
11. Downy Woodpecker‡
12. Mallard‡


12. White-breasted Nuthatch
13. Dark-eyed Junco
14. Herring Gull
15. Rock Pigeon
16. House Sparrow
17. House Finch

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


Wind and woodpeckers

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016
Red-bellied Woodpecker, near Mount Battie, Camden, Maine, 29 March 2016.

Red-bellied Woodpecker.

An overcast morning full of wind gusts and backyard birds. Juncos, sparrows, jays, nuthatches, titmice, finches, doves—and woodpeckers. Right off the bat I heard the voice of a Red-bellied Woodpecker. And then I saw the fox. Grabbed my camera, but had dashed behind the barn next door. Snuck out and looked around the corner, and there it was. Healthy-looking animal. Too dark and in a hurry will make a photo a little blurry.

American red fox, near Mount Battie, Camden, Maine, 29 March 2016.

American red fox.

Spotted the male red-belly. Heard the Pileated Woodpecker’s call again—and saw that the hole in the dead snag is a lot bigger than last time I looked. Spotted a Hairy Woodpecker. Spotted a Downy Woodpecker.

In my late Beech Hill hike with Jack, we got wind-blown. A red-flew over as we pulled up. Nobody else there today with the wind whipping as it was. Heard only the caws of crows and a nearby chickadee.

A day of wind and woodpeckers. And a good-looking American red fox, to boot.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 3:45 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Red-tailed Hawk
2. Black-capped Chickadee** (v)
3. American Crow*
4. American Robin*


5. Blue Jay (v)
6. White-breasted Nuthatch
7. Northern Cardinal
8. Dark-eyed Junco
9. Mourning Dove
10. American Goldfinch
11. Song Sparrow
12. Pileated Woodpecker (v)
13. Tufted Titmouse
14. Red-bellied Woodpecker
15. Hairy Woodpecker
16. Downy Woodpecker
17. Golden-crowned Kinglet
18. Herring Gull
19. Rock Pigeon
20. Mallard
21. House Finch (v)

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

Song Sparrow, near Mount Battie, Camden, Maine, 29 March 2016.

Song Sparrow.

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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