Dawn lit a wet, chilly, drizzly landscape this morning—albeit not very brightly. The dog, however, was bright and persuasive, so we headed up the drippy hill first thing. I doubted the yearling moose had hung around but nonetheless couldn’t help wondering. Only finches sang as we hopped in the pickup.
Saw Chuck’s truck in the parking lot, so we took the upper trail, the one I’ve noticed he and Greta usually use to ascend. All was pretty quiet. For the first few hundred yards, in fact, I heard only the voices of chickadees and the faint cries of herring gulls at the farm on Rockville Street. Then I heard a crow. Then a raven. Didn’t figure I’d be getting any decent bird photos this day, so I concentrated on the flora.
I don’t know plants and trees and such anywhere near as well as I’d like to. It’s nice to have something yet to learn. I couldn’t help noticing, for instance, all the little white-flowering trees on the hill just now. I’d just learned from my friend Kristen’s blog that these were some form of shadbush—I’ve since decided they must be Amelanchier laevis. Also apparent trailside, along with the fiddleheads and trout lilies, were what looked to be tiny wild violets. And fungi are bustin’ out all over the trunks of dead trees.
Nearing the top of the upper trail, I finally heard some calling towhees. And then a pair of them exploded from some undergrowth chasing and making strange razzing sounds. The territorial imperative. Turned out the towhees were the only birds I actually saw on the hill this day.
I heard others, though: robin, song sparrow, cardinal, titmouse—and, unexpectedly, the urgent screams of a killdeer off in one of the summit fields.
Descending the lower wooded trail (no doubt Chuck and Greta’s route also), we came upon no moose. But we did come upon a tall dead trunk positively cloaked in turkey tail fungus. From somewhere came the high-pitched chatterings of a downy woodpecker—one of only eleven birds on today’s Beech Hill List.
Beech Hill List
At 7:45 a.m., I walked both wooded trails.
Black-capped chickadee (voice)
Herring gull (voice)
American crow (voice)
Common raven (voice)
American robin (voice)
Song sparrow (voice)
Tufted titmouse (voice)
Downy woodpecker (voice)
Northern cardinal (voice)
Tags: American crow, American goldfinch, American robin, black-capped chickadee, blue jay, common raven, downy woodpecker, eastern towhee, herring gull, house finch, killdeer, mourning dove, northern cardinal, rock pigeon, song sparrow, tufted titmouse