20 May 2024

Clear trail

Friday, June 29th, 2012
Broad-winged hawk, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 June 2012.

Broad-winged hawk.

It rained again this morning. Then it cleared up. And got warm. Worked some, had a nice, big lunch with a friend in Rockland, then set off on my bicycle. Worked up a good sweat, heard plenty of roadside birds.

Cedar waxwing, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 June 2012.

Cedar waxwing.

Finally, late in the day, Jack and I found our way to Beech Hill (duh). No other humans there but me, no other dogs but Jack. However, some busy soul had thoughtfully whacked a nice wide swath along the upper wooded trail. No prickly berry branches to navigate around, no tall grasses to wade through, collecting ticks. Kind of nice, on the one hand, but kind of worrisome on the other. Can’t help it—it’s my own personal curse that I worry about the effects of human activity on Nature. Nature put us here, after all, to do what we do. But I couldn’t help but notice the unusual silence along the trail. No calls redstarts, no scolding chestnut-sided warblers, no flitting towhees or chattering catbirds. We did pass a veery in a clump of trees, warning us away. And a solitary yellowthroat chipped at us from the undergrowth. But that was until we reached the sun-warmed upper fields, where things were hoppin’.

On the other hand, maybe it’s just that time of year. Maybe the trailside warblers have left the nest, as I know the towhees have. Birds really don’t tend a nest for all that long—perhaps that’s all it was. And anyway, it’s not like the berry brambles won’t quickly come back, as the grass won’t swiftly grow.

Common yellowthroat, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 June 2012.

Common yellowthroat.

Certainly the summit had plenty to look at and listen to: phoebes (which, judging by all the scolding from the spruce grove, have left their nest), Savannah sparrows (again, flitting crazily in a stout wind—also fledged?), song sparrows, flocks of waxwings. A solitary crow flew over, and right after that I heard the call of a raven. And not very long after that, I spotted the raven (I assume the same bird) flapping off toward the bay. Off toward the bay is also where I spotted a hawk—a broad-winged—sailing and veering and riding the wind.

Down in the woods, a hermit thrush sang. And back at the parking lot I heard a flicker. But perhaps my oddest sighting today was my first: a pair of ospreys—one calling—flying low over the sugarbush, tending to some urgent errand.

For a brief time at evening, the sky caught fire and simmered a while. And tonight the moon is a little brighter than it was a day ago.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 5:45 p.m., I hiked the wooded trails—and then some.

1. Osprey*
2. Ovenbird (v)
3. Red-eyed vireo (v)
4. Chestnut-sided warbler (v)
5. Veery (v)
6. Eastern towhee
7. Yellow warbler* (v)
8. Cedar waxwing*
9. American goldfinch* (v)
10. American crow*
11. Common yellowthroat*
12. Gray catbird* (v)
13. American robin*
14. Black-capped chickadee (v)
15. Eastern phoebe
16. Tree swallow
17. Song sparrow* (v)
18. Savannah sparrow
19. Common raven
20. Alder flycatcher (v)
21. Broad-winged hawk
22. Hermit thrush (v)
23. Northern flicker (v)

Elsewhere

24. Blue jay (v)
25. House finch (v)
26. Herring gull
27. American redstart (v)
28. Rock pigeon
29. European starling
30. Northern cardinal (v)
31. Chipping sparrow (v)
32. Mourning dove

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere

Evening clouds, Glen Cove, Rockport, Maine, 29 June 2012.

Evening clouds.


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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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