23 February 2020 Rockport, Maine, USA 

All is not dormant

Sunday, January 31st, 2010
Sunset at Ballyhac Cove, Owls Head, Maine, 31 January 2010.

Sunset at Ballyhac Cove.

Again, the blazing sun. Again cold—but teens (F), not single digits. I heard the friendly voices of black-capped chickadees when first I stepped out on the back deck. Also heard the beep-beep of a white-breasted nuthatch. Then crows, six of them, flapped up into the crown of the big red oak overhanging my place. As I stood below them, snapping photos, they seemed to alternate calls as if playing a game: first one crow, one call; then another crow, another call. I imagine these six individuals were among the dozens at nearby Clam Cove yesterday.

American crow, Glen Cove, Rockport, Maine, 31 January 2010.

American crow.

I was on the phone with my daughter this afternoon when I spotted the shadows of birds out back. A quick glance out the glass doors got me excited—a pair of hairy woodpeckers playing an urgent game keep-away around the trunk of the big shade maple. (No shade this time of year, of course.) I excused myself to attempt photos, and eased open the door to hear their percussive back-and-forth calls, but I must’ve spooked the birds nonetheless and ended up getting only a few remote photos of the male. (The other was a female, I’m pretty sure.) Not sure what the fuss was about.

Later in afternoon, I visited a friend in Owls Head. En route, in Rockland, I saw circling flocks of gulls, multiple tight groups of starlings, and a solitary robin. At Weskeag Marsh in South Thomaston, I saw no sign of the great blue heron that’d been hanging out there earlier this month. Gulls flapped about the distant main channel, where sucked a falling tide.

Hairy woodpecker, Glen Cove, Rockport, Maine, 31 January 2010.

Hairy woodpecker.

At the Keag Store, the water rushed frantically under the bridge and down the estuary and out to sea. A pair of common goldeneys dove off the landing. It’d be easy to miss all the bird activity in this supposedly dormant time of year.

At my friend’s house on Ballyhac Cove, black ducks and other birds were active at low tide. After sunset, I took a photo of her lovely western sky.

Today’s List

American crow
Black-capped chickadee
White-breasted nuthatch
Hairy woodpecker
Herring gull
Ring-billed gull
Rock pigeon
European starling
American robin
Common goldeneye
Black duck

Weskeag Marsh, South Thomaston, Maine, 31 January 2010.

Weskeag Marsh.

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Bird Report is an intermittent record of what's outside my window in Rockport, Maine, USA (44°08'N latitude, 69°06'W longitude), and vicinity. —Brian Willson

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