14 April 2024

Rare time of year

Friday, August 30th, 2013
Black-billed cuckoo, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 30 August 2013.

Black-billed cuckoo.

You work much of the day, you take a brisk bike ride, you go for a hike. Some days not much happens. Some days you have a bike crash and break your collarbone. And some days you come upon a cuckoo making crazy clock!-like sounds.

Sunburst, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 30 August 2013.


Or maybe it was gluck! Or kolack! I forget exactly. But I knew it wasn’t your typical shy catbird in the bush right beside the Beech Hill trail.

Jack was patient. I actually dropped the leash to try to get a photo of the bird, and he didn’t budge an inch (although I snuck about twenty feet away). So later, at the summit, I dropped the leash again while he was doing his favorite thing in the world: rolling around in the luxuriant grass.

Also at the summit, we arrived about the same time as a young red-tail and a nice couple who had just emerged from the wooded trail. Chatted a while about the hawk, ticks, and other subjects.

Otherwise, it was a hike of sun and tall, dramatic clouds; dragonflies veering back and forth above the gone-by blueberry barrens; crickets chirping and trilling from every direction.

It’s a truly nice, rare time of year.

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

1. Eastern towhee (v)
2. American goldfinch** (v)
3. Cedar waxwing
4. Black-billed cuckoo
5. Song sparrow
6. Red-tailed hawk
7. Yellow-rumped warbler (v)
8. American crow* (v)
9. Blue jay
10. Eastern phoebe


11. Herring gull
12. Rock pigeon
13. Mourning dove
14. Northern cardinal (v)

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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