24 June 2024

Waxwings and ovenbirds

Monday, July 30th, 2012
Cedar waxwings, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 July 2012.

Cedar waxwings.

Clear. Blue. Dry. Windy. Not too windy—but a pretty stout southwesterly blow. I noticed it particularly while out cycling in mid-afternoon. I also noticed the calls of chipping sparrows along my usual route. And earlier, a little family of titmice was making noise out back of my place for a change. Titmice moving around.

Black-capped chickadee, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 July 2012.

Black-capped chickadee.

The wind caused a rush in the thick canopy of the wooded Beech Hill trail when Jack and I arrived late. Vireos calling, as usual. Goldfinches. Waxwings. But the waxwings have begun to bunch up a bit—encountered a flock of a couple dozen or so about half way up the trail (and fewer small groups at the summit). Heard white-throated sparrows for the third straight day.

But no song sparrows. No Savannahs. Plenty of towhees. No robins. Each day is different up there.

Just a single hermit thrush on our return through the lower woods. Just one pewee also. But then Jack’s ears perked up and I saw him looking far down the trail. When he does this, I’ve learned to pay attention—and, sure enough, three turkeys hurried down through the trees off in front of us maybe a hundred feet or so. I’m not sure how Jack does it. Eyes plus nose? I can’t imagine he heard them, what with the rushing wind—but maybe.

And then came perhaps the most exciting occurrences. Three of them. Occurrence No. 1: I spotted a little brown bird in the shadows at the base of a trailside bush. We stopped. I haven’t been carrying fieldglasses lately (mine have become relatively useless, alas) but I could tell by its movements and the razor-sharp chip notes it made that this was an ovenbird. Occurrence No. 2: Off to our left as we descended through the open grove of big oaks, again I heard the chips of an ovenbird, not far to our left (didn’t see it, though). Occurrence No. 3: As we neared the parking lot, just beyond the brook, I spotted another small bird flitting beneath another trailside bush not thirty feet away—this ovenbird I got a good look at through my viewfinder (although the photos turned out blurry for wont of light).

Fowl feather, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 July 2012.

Fowl feather.

No singing ovenbirds today, but they’re still there after all. More of them, I daresay, than there were in spring.

As evening approached, I heard a hermit thrush up the hill behind my place, as I have regularly nearly every day for a week or more. Chipping cardinals well into evening. And, later, fireflies under a waxing moon.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 4:45 p.m., I hiked the wooded trails.

1. Red-eyed vireo (v)
2. American goldfinch* (v)
3. Black-capped chickadee
4. Eastern towhee
5. Cedar waxwing
6. Gray catbird
7. American crow* (v)
8. White-throated sparrow
9. Alder flycatcher (v)
10. Common yellowthroat
11. Hermit thrush* (v)
12. Wild turkey
13. Eastern wood-pewee (v)
14. Ovenbird


15. Tufted titmouse (v)
16. House finch (v)
17. Herring gull
18. Rock pigeon
19. Chipping sparrow (v)
20. Mourning dove
21. Northern cardinal (v)

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere

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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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