A yearling moose made an appearance at Beech Hill this morning. I didn’t see the moose.
Up early, headed with dog to the wooded trail. In the parking lot, I ran into two friends with dogs that had the same idea: Roger, with Zeke (just getting finished with their hike) and Chuck, with Greta (just getting started). Turns out Greta—a sweetheart to people (and a German shepherd dog, a breed I have a soft spot for)—isn’t especially dog friendly, so she and Chuck headed up before Jack and me.
Right away, I realized the towhees had returned. Well, maybe not the same individual birds, but at least a dozen eastern towhees singing “drink your tea”—or “please eat your cheese” or other variations on the theme—serenaded us up the trail. Also chickadees, goldfinches, a downy woodpecker, robins, herring gulls in the distance. We saw nor heard hawks; no tree swallows today, either. But at the summit there were phoebes, savannah sparrows, a titmouse, a field sparrow, mourning dove, a crow, and a raven. We also came upon a recently killed mouse directly in the middle of ht trail. Head chewed on. Body uneaten. Not sure what might’ve been responsible for that, but I moved its little corpse off into the trail-side vegetation.
Descending, I thought for a moment about taking the longer, lower wooded trail—but changed my mind at the last minute, and we retraced our steps along the upper trail. And about half-way down, I heard a solitary singing catbird. That’s right: first-of-year gray catbird, first of many to nest on the hill this year, I’m sure.
I was feeling pretty good about the catbird when Chuck and Greta arrived back at the parking lot just as we were about to leave. “Guess what we just saw?” asked Chuck. Turns out those two had returned via the lower trail and ran into a good-sized yearling moose, which hung around a little while before taking off through the leafing popple toward the northeast. Inside, I cursed my bad decision—we took the wrong trail down. But later I realized: I wasn’t meant to see that particular moose. It’s likely long gone now anyway.
I was meant to hear a catbird.
Rode 16 miles on my bike today. In Rockport village, I heard grackles, a blue jay, a cardinal. Later, Jack and I walked the breakwater again. Thought I saw a male common merganser in flight—but I’m not quite ready to count it. Did see great black-backed gulls, loons in winter and summer plumage, plenty of eiders, a number of double-crested cormorants.
Beech Hill List
At 7:30 a.m., I walked the wooded trail.
Eastern towhee (voice)
Song sparrow (voice)
American robin (voice)
Herring gull (voice)
Tufted titmouse (voice)
Field sparrow (voice)
Gray catbird (voice)
Northern flicker (voice)
Also notable: dead mouse in trail, yearling moose (second-hand info).
Great black-backed gull
Tags: American crow, American goldfinch, American robin, black-capped chickadee, blue jay, common eider, common grackle, common loon, double-crested cormorant, downy woodpecker, eastern phoebe, eastern towhee, field sparrow, gray catbird, great black-backed gull, herring gull, house finch, mourning dove, northern cardinal, northern flicker, pileated woodpecker, rock pigeon, savannah sparrow, song sparrow, tufted titmouse