After a sweet bipolar week on Monhegan—manic periods of birding interspersed with lazy times lounging around The Trailing Yew—Jack and I managed to wait out the rain and slip in a late hike up Beech Hill, falling easily back into our familiar pattern. The woods were drippy, the trails moist, and the trees brimming with tiny migrants. Right off the bat, we stopped to watch at least a couple dozen yellow-rumped warblers sweeping through the top branches of the sugarbush maples. Among them, a couple of chickadees (I could tell by their voices) and at least one blue-headed vireo.
The chips of yellow-rumps continued around us as we ascended the upper trail. We paused for a minute or two to watch a hairy woodpecker hammer at a trunk a while. A crow cawed. A catbird mewed. Then, as we reached the summit fields, the sun emerged for the first time all day. And when I looked back over the bay, I saw the bright arc of a vivid rainbow.
Heard the note of a song sparrow up there, too, and also the cry of a towhee, but the rainbow had my attention. No one else up there to share the sight—but that was fine with us.
No birds at all on our descent through the shadowy lower woods—just the rhythm of our steps and the sound of our breathing and the lusty aroma of the kind of damp, fragrant air you’ll only smell on the last evening of September.
Beech Hill List
Beginning at 5:30 p.m., I hiked the wooded trails.
1. Black-capped chickadee (v)
2. Yellow-rumped warbler
3. Blue-headed vireo
4. Downy woodpecker
5. American crow**
6. Gray catbird (v)
7. Song sparrow (v)
8. Eastern towhee (v)
9. Herring gull
v = Voice only
**Voice only elsewhere
Tags: American crow, black-capped chickadee, blue-headed vireo, downy woodpecker, eastern towhee, gray catbird, herring gull, song sparrow, yellow-rumped warbler