6 December 2019 Rockport, Maine, USA 

Cuckoos

Thursday, May 30th, 2013
Eastern phoebe, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 May 2013.

Eastern phoebe (and prey).

I had expected a mostly cloudy morning, but the sky was clear when the sun came up, so—despite a late bedtime last night—I hopped out of bed, yanked on some clothes, grabbed my dog, and drove about five miles and hour above the speed limit (livin’ dangerously!) to Beech Hill.

Mourning dove, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 May 2013.

Mourning dove.

Although you could already tell it would be a warm one, one of the pieces of clothing I yanked on was a hooded sweatshirt. That’s because I knew there would be mosquitos. And there were. Dozens. Hundreds, millions. Well, a lot. More than once I ended up with my hood over my head and my hands in my front pocket. And, alas, more than once I missed a nice bird photo.

Not because of the sweatshirt, just fate. Because there were tons of birds. The main species I had my eye—well, ear—on was black-billed cuckoo. Early on I heard one calling its subtle (but carrying) cu-cu-cu-cu. Then another toward the summit. And another down the other side of the hill. At least three singing cuckoos. Even before we’d jumped into the truck, I had the idea of getting a photo of one. I’ve gotten a few in the past, but they’re not great. Cuckoos are shy birds. You’ve really got to luck into a photo, in my experience—hard to plan one out.

Still, I tried stalking, More than once. Mosquitos buzzing around. Thought I might’ve gotten a glimpse once, but that was about it.

Also heard a blackpoll warbler (not abundant up there) whose voice also carries—and has the added quality of seeming omnidirectional. That bird was right up there, but I just couldn’t lay my eyes on it. Until it flew.

American lady, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 May 2013.

American lady.

At least I got a lucky shot of a phoebe at Beech Nut. And a listen to a pine warbler’s song back home this afternoon.

Maybe I’ll get that cuckoo tomorrow.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 8 a.m., I hiked all trails.

1. Ovenbird** (v)
2. Black-throated green warbler** (v)
3. American goldfinch**
4. Chestnut-sided warbler**
5. Red-eyed vireo** (v)
6. Black-and-white warbler** (v)
7. American robin
8. Common yellowthroat**
9. Eastern phoebe**
10. Black-capped chickadee**
11. Tufted titmouse** (v)
12. Gray catbird** (v)
13. Eastern towhee
14. Black-billed cuckoo (v)
15. American redstart**
16. American crow*
17. Eastern wood-pewee (v)
18. Yellow warbler**
19. Alder flycatcher
20. Mourning dove*
21. Common raven
22. Hermit thrush (v)
23. Blue jay (v)
24. Tree swallow
25. Savannah sparrow
26. Song sparrow**
27. Nashville warbler (v)
28. Rose-breasted grosbeak (v)
29. Field sparrow
30. Blackpoll warbler
31. Brown-headed cowbird (v)
32. Red-bellied woodpecker (v)
33. Black-throated blue warbler (v)
34. Least flycatcher (v)

Elsewhere

35. House finch
36. Herring gull
37. European starling
38. Rock pigeon
39. Laughing gull (v)
40. Pine warbler (v)

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere

 

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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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