24 June 2024


Sunday, July 29th, 2012
Gray catbird (juvenile), Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 July 2012.

Gray catbird (juvenile).

Today was overcast with rain off and on. I worked at my kitchen table, didn’t bother with a damp bike ride. But toward late afternoon, Jack and I were itchin’ for our daily hike.

Eastern towhee (juvenile), Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 July 2012.

Eastern towhee (juvenile).

So we ended up at the wooded Beech Hill trail, as usual. Ironically—and oddly, I thought, considering how high the clouds looked—the sky began to drip just as we got underway. Not a heavy rain, by any means, but a steady sort of drip and spatter. Places overhung by trees remained dry, and the deer flies didn’t seem bothered. We weren’t much bothered either. Nor were the vireos, apparently. But I didn’t imagine there’d be many more birds to see (or hear).

Turned out there were several: chickadees, towhees, goldfinches—and several flitting catbirds in the undergrowth. In fact, turned out, most of the typical species made their presences known one way or the other. Mostly by subtle notes and calls.

About the time we reached the summit, the rain stopped. I noticed a party of three arriving ahead of us, each carrying an umbrella. We stopped to chat with what turned out to be a family visiting the area. Nice folks. And while we chatted, I happened to spot a barn swallow. Then another. Then three or four more. A family of swallows dipping and veering, seemingly hunting a rise of post-rain flies above the grass. And then a field sparrow called. And a phoebe flew over. Then a mourning dove. (I even thought I saw a hummingbird zip by, but I couldn’t be sure.) Scarce species emerging after the rain—and also, I figure, in the wake of their quiet, secretive period of nurturing new birds.

Blackberries, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 July 2012.


Returning, we happened upon a couple of families of catbirds—many catbirds—zipping and dashing between low bushes, eyeing us suspiciously. Most of them were youngsters, I could tell. As were most of the towhees we also happened upon. And then, a little gang of white-throated sparrows.

So yesterday’s white-throat wasn’t an anomaly. Must also be their time of year to reemerge.

Eighteen species despite the drippy conditions. A happy happenstance.

And tonight the sky cleared, and the moon has emerged.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 4:30 p.m., I hiked the wooded trails.

1. Red-eyed vireo* (v)
2. Black-capped chickadee (v)
3. Eastern towhee
4. American goldfinch* (v)
5. Gray catbird
6. Cedar waxwing
7. Common yellowthroat
8. American crow* (v)
9. American robin
10. Hermit thrush* (v)
11. Song sparrow*
12. Barn swallow
13. Field sparrow (v)
14. Eastern phoebe
15. Mourning dove*
16. Alder flycatcher (v)
17. White-throated sparrow
18. Eastern wood-pewee (v)


19. House finch (v)
20. Herring gull
21. Northern cardinal (v)

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Bird Report is a (sometimes intermittent) record of the birds I encounter while hiking, see while driving, or spy outside my window. —Brian Willson

3IP Logo
©1997–2024 by 3IP