24 June 2024


Thursday, May 29th, 2014
Scarlet Tanager (female), Beech hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 29 May 2014.

Scarlet Tanager (female).

Ah, respite from the rain. My unconscious was so thrilled to see the sun at dawn that I awoke even earlier than usual, just as our star rose above the horizon. Then I put on several layers of clothes, since the temperature was about 40 degrees (F). Still: bright light, calm morning, birdsong….

Scarlet Tanager, Beech hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 29 May 2014.

Scarlet Tanager.

No wacky species this morning, but a few nice sightings of good-looking birds—including a pair of Scarlet Tanagers just below the fields on the lower wooded trail. I’ve been hearing at least one (often two) singing tanagers in that area for the past week or two (along with Black-throated Blue Warblers, which I did not hear today), but this day I was angling to photograph a vocal Eastern Wood-pewee. That early, you have to account for the angle of the sun, so I had walked slowly under the bird to where the morning sun was at my back when I saw a flash of red in the green. Tanager.

This one was not singing. It was perched low in the canopy. I took a few rather distant photos, and then the bird flitted up close—but on a branch behind a trunk from us. About that point Jack decided to lunge at black flies and/or mosquitos, jingling his tags, but the tanager didn’t flee. In fact, when I looked up again I caught movement in a nearby oak tree which right away I figured was the female. And it was.

Got a couple great shots of her.

But I never did get a good video—which was what I was angling for—of the pewee. They’re everywhere, though, so I remain hopeful. Also Red-eyed Vireos. And Ovenbirds, which are just now racing and chasing all over the place. A lot has changed these past couple days, actually: at the fields, Savannah Sparrows are laying low; Yellow Warblers are pairing up, as are Alder Flycatchers; Veeries are singing, while Hermit Thrushes have gone quiet.

Yellow Warbler, Beech hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 29 May 2014.

Yellow Warbler.

Blame it on our planet’s tilt. Migrating birds migrate. Deciduous trees leaf out quickly then lose their leaves then go dormant, only to leave out again.

To everything there is a season.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 6 a.m., I hiked all trails.

1. Red-eyed vireo
2. Chestnut-sided Warbler
3. Ovenbird
4. American Robin*
5. Eastern Phoebe**
6. Scarlet Tanager
7. Eastern Towhee
8. Rose-breasted Grosbeak (v)
9. American Crow*
10. Tufted Titmouse (v)
11. Black-capped Chickadee
12. Veery (v)
13. Mourning Dove*
14. America Redstart (v)
15. Alder Flycatcher
16. American Goldfinch
17. Northern Flicker
18. Gray Catbird**
19. Hermit Thrush (v)
20. White-throated Sparrow (v)
21. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
22. Blue Jay (v)
23. Song Sparrow**
24. Tree Swallow (v)
25. Field Sparrow (v)
26. Yellow Warbler**
27. Savannah Sparrow
28. Black-and-white Warbler (v)
29. Black-throated Green Warbler (v)
30. Chipping Sparrow (v)
31. Osprey
32. Common Grackle
33. Eastern Wood-pewee
34. Nashville Warbler (v)
35. Yell0w-bellied Sapsucker (drumming)
36. White-breasted Nuthatch


37. Herring Gull

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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