24 June 2024

An open mind

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010
Layers of mist, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 March 2010.

Layers of mist.

Looked out first thing, saw rain. Maybe not quite as heavy as yesterday, but just as steady. The birds didn’t seem to mind much—cardinal, crow, song sparrow, titmouse, chickadee. The wind didn’t seem so antic, either. Still, quick rivulets bubbled over the blacktop of the parking lot, and sheets of water slithered down the little sloping north yard.

Dog and I headed up the open Beech Hill trail at midday. I didn’t expect much in the way of bird life, and we hiked up at a fast clip, stopping only briefly to admire the misty layers of southern distance.

Mourning doves, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 March 2010.

Mourning doves.

At the summit, stepping up into the porch of Beech Nut, we heard a rapid clattering—and a mourning dove burst from somewhere out across the east yard to alight on a branch near the head of the wooded trail. As we headed slowly in that direction so I could snap a photo, the dove flew away. But within seconds, two others suddenly exploded from a section of undergrowth and ended up on a limb nearby. Rain spattered the glass of my lens, but I got a couple photos.

On the way down, I heard blue jays. I didn’t expect blue jays.

The whole soggy experience got me thinking about expectations—or the lack thereof. The concept of an open mind. After years of hunting for particular quarry that as often as not stays away, I’ve come to learn to stand facing whatever there is to face, doing whatever there is to do, and accepting whatever curiosity presents itself. Today’s lovely doves were a fitting example of the fruits of this phenomenon—that no matter what you might expect, life most often occurs as a sweet surprise.

I hear no wood frogs tonight (as I did a couple nights ago but forgot to mention). Instead I hear fog whistles and the roar of the brook along the hill to the north a ways. Light rain spatters down still. All the world is liquidity.

Today’s List

Northern cardinal
American crow
Song sparrow
Tufted titmouse
Black-capped chickadee
House finch
American robin
Herring gull
Mourning dove
Blue jay
Rock pigeon

Rugosa, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 March 2010.

Gone-by rugosa hips.

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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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