Life is a series of searching for things and finding other things instead.
Before I awoke I knew it was raining from the distant rushing traffic sounds. Gentle rain and a gray sky and temperatures in the 40s (F). Out the window, a titmouse was singing its love song in the rain.
In mid-morning I happened to look out and see a double-crested cormorant flying across the drizzly sky. The rain stopped sometime later, and I saw some scraps of blue sky, and things began to dry. We hit the wooded Beech Hill trail at just about exactly noon. Overhead the sky remained vague and gray; over the bay, the sky was blue. Not too much mud on the trail. Not many birds either—chickadee, goldfinch, gulls at the Rockville Street farm. Midday’s not the best birding hour.
But after a while, I heard towhees. And a hermit thrush—whose ethereal call seems perfect for a day that’s gray or misty. And the sudden gobble of a wild turkey not very far away. Heard a raven fly over. A downy woodpecker. Got a photo of a towhee near the summit.
I checked the phoebe’s nest up under the Beech Nut porch. I didn’t see a phoebe. But coming down the open trail, I spotted a solitary turkey up ahead, and the turkey spotted dog and me, and it took wing and sailed down the slope. I kept my gaze on that section of the hill in hopes of spotting the bird, but what I saw rise from the area instead was a single female harrier.
The song of a field sparrow rang from a group of low trees. Through my binoculars I spotted the bird about fifty yards away. Then heard a percussive call overhead, looked up, and saw a chase of three mallards in swift flight. On our return to the summit, the savannah sparrows were shy—I saw only two, and these flitted furtively off into the brush. A turkey vulture soared out toward the islands. And as we neared the wooded trail, I looked back to see a pair of harriers—male and female—circling the sod-roofed hut.
Down the lower wooded trail, when we passed the turkey-tail-covered trunk, I decided to walk on over and take a nearer photo. We saw no moose, but there were plenty of chickadees. While watching one group, I caught sight of a white-breasted nuthatch and followed that bird’s trip up a big oak trunk. Just then I heard the yodel of a loon—and actually saw the bird, flying high in the sky, at least a hundred yards overhead.
I sure didn’t expect to count twenty species on my walk up Beech Hill today.
Beech Hill List
At 12:00 p.m., I walked all trails.
Herring gull (voice)
Hermit thrush (voice)
Downy woodpecker (voice)
Northern flicker (voice)
Song sparrow (voice)
Tags: American crow, American goldfinch, American robin, black-capped chickadee, common loon, common raven, double-crested cormorant, downy woodpecker, eastern towhee, European starling, field sparrow, hermit thrush, herring gull, mallard, mourning dove, northern flicker, northern harrier, red-winged blackbird, ring-billed gull, savannah sparrow, song sparrow, tufted titmouse, turkey vulture, white-breasted nuthatch, wild turkey