23 October 2020

Gray

Thursday, March 31st, 2016
Eastern Phoebe, near Mount Battie, Camden, Maine, 31 March 2016.

Eastern Phoebe.

I think gray might be my favorite color. It’s not lightless black, it’s not some unique and prismatic color—just a half-way shade, a pensive one, kind of imbued with all of it.

Three crows playing in the wind, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport, Maine, 31 March 2016.

Three crows playing in the wind.

Today dawned warm, had a little sun early, but by afternoon, it had gone dim and overcast. The temperature reached well into the 50s (F), and a high wind rose. Sat at my desk until mid-afternoon—where the highlight of the morning was the song of a first-of-year Eastern Phoebe right outside my window—then went with my dog to Beech Hill Preserve. I bet you knew it would happen eventually, didn’t you?

The rush of the wind was so loud in the trees that my ear couldn’t make out many bird voices—other than the Northern Cardinals, a couple of them, singing loudly down by the parking lot. Heard crows, too. And down by the bay I saw a little cloud of gulls. And then I heard a flicker, and later spotted a chickadee.

The big excitement, though, for me, was the dance of the crows in the wind. Three, four, five of them were chasing and pairing off and seemingly playing up there—way up there. Riding the wind. One would suddenly take off after another, hollering like crazy as the chased bird dodged and veered. Another would just sail and turn and spin up above the rest. I saw three go by in formation. I saw two pair off and flap-flap, sail, almost in unison.

They were playing up there, I’m sure of it. Spring fever?

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 3:15 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Northern Cardinal* (v)
2. American Crow*
3. Herring Gull*
4. Northern Flicker (v)
5. Black-capped Chickadee**

Elsewhere

6. Blue Jay (v)
7. Tufted Titmouse (v)
8. House Finch (v)
9. Eastern Phoebe†
10. Red-bellied Woodpecker (v)
11. Downy Woodpecker (v)
12. Rock Pigeon
13. Mourning Dove (v)
14. House Sparrow
15. Dark-eyed Junco (v)
16. American Robin
17. Common Grackle†

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere
†First-of-year bird

 

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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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