24 June 2024

It has begun

Monday, August 26th, 2013
Scarlet tanager (nonbreeding male), Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine 26 August 2013.

Scarlet tanager (nonbreeding male).

Worked most of the day, then rode my bike, then—at the end of it—hiked Beech Hill with Jack. As we got out of the truck, I stood and just listened. The air was still, and I could hear the faint percussive sounds of some machinery working on something down South Street a quarter mile or so, but otherwise? Nothing.

Common nighthawk, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine 26 August 2013.

Common nighthawk, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine 26 August 2013.

Long seconds. Nothing. Nothing. Then the tiny peeps of a chickadee. I looked up in the general direction of the chickadee peeps and saw a bird perched high on a dead snag. But it wasn’t a chickadee.

Trained my binocs on the bird. It was a vireo. A motionless, silent, blue-headed vireo. Then I saw other birds flitting around up there, making no sound. Warblers, possibly. Then sure enough a chickadee. Then a larger, yellow bird. Trained my binocs: a nonbreeding tanager. Then I heard goldfinches. Then up beyond the tanager I saw two, no three nighthawks flapping in that distinctive lazy style of theirs, southbound. Then I heard the wheep! of a distant towhee. Then I saw black-and-white warblers and heard the sudden, rapid-fire notes of a least flycatcher.

Fall migration has begun.

Ten species before we even started up the main trail. Saw more chickadees and some smaller birds. More black-and-white warblers, and a chestnut-sided warbler. We had stopped still, and these had flitted into the branches of a little birch directly over our heads. Could not focus, alas.

Sparrows, waxwings, a catbird. And in the spruces at the summit, a little collection of yellow-rumped warblers.

Blue-headed vireo, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine 26 August 2013.

Blue-headed vireo.

I’m kind of psyched, actually. Migration has begun.

Beech Hill List

Beginning at 5:15 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Black-capped chickadee**
2. Blue-headed vireo
3. American goldfinch**
4. Common nighthawk
5. Scarlet tanager
6. Eastern towhee
7. Least flycatcher
8. Black-and-white warbler
9. Blue jay** (v)
10. White-breasted nuthatch
11. American crow* (v)
12. Cedar waxwing**
13. Common yellowthroat (v)
14. Chestnut-sided warbler
15. Field sparrow
16. Song sparrow
17. Gray catbird
18. Yellow-rumped warbler
19. Common raven (v)


20. Herring gull
21. Northern cardinal (v)
22. Wild turkey
23. Double-crested cormorant
24. Mourning dove

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only 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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