26 May 2022

Premonition

Monday, August 30th, 2010
Black-throated blue warbler, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 August 2010.

Black-throated blue warbler.

Jack and I got to Beech Hill about 7 this morning, and already the temperature had risen well into the 70s (F). The sun blazed from the eastern sky, warming the forested side of the hill—which, of course, is where we begin our hike each morning.

Blue jay, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 August 2010.

Blue jay.

Little frogs calling in the periphery. The usual common species as we ascended. Coming around the little stand of popple where chestnut-sideds sing in spring, I suddenly heard the clear four- or five-note call of a redstart. Then a sharp chip from above: a warbler there, a black-throated blue. It flitted close—but directly above us, where it proceeded to pick a spider out of its web up there. It chipped, eyed us below, robbed the web of whatever morsel the spider had wrapped up. Just as I imagined that if this bird defecated, it’d come pretty close to my head—it pooped. The poop landed on a berry leaf about a foot away.

Soon after, a couple of ruffed grouse rose loudly at our approach through thick undergrowth.

At the summit, a breeze whispered through the boughs of the spruces. I heard sparrows and a single yellow-rump. That’s all.

Common yellowthroat, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 August 2010.

Common yellowthroat (female).

Coming down the open trail, I heard jays and crows. At the hardwood thickets along Beech Hill Road, a family of jays pecked at acorns in the shadows. A titmouse carried some morsel or other. Another titmouse hung around nearby. Yellowthroats and catbirds sent out their subtle alarm calls and made very brief, shady appearances. From somewhere, a cicada sang.

Sweat soaked my T-shirt as we climbed back up and over. A solitary savannah sparrow flitted down the open slope—a migrating bird, I figure. And in the lower wooded trail, I heard only chickadees, nuthatches, a wood-pewee, and a single vireo.

* * *

This afternoon, while out cycling in the summery heat, I saw a good-sized flock of starlings circling above the commercial strip of Route 1. The sighting gave me a premonition of fall.

Tufted titmouse, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 August 2010.

Tufted titmouse.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 7 a.m., I hiked all trails.

1. Red-eyed vireo (voice)
2. Black-capped chickadee
3. White-breasted nuthatch (voice)
4. Common yellowthroat
5. Hairy woodpecker
6. American redstart (voice)
7. Black-throated blue warbler
8. American robin (voice)
9. Ruffed grouse (flushed)
10. Cedar waxwing
11. American goldfinch
12. White-throated sparrow
13. Song sparrow (voice)
14. Yellow-rumped warbler
15. Northern flicker (voice)
16. American crow (voice)
17. Blue jay
18. Mourning dove
19. Gray catbird
20. Tufted titmouse
21. Savannah sparrow
22. Eastern wood-pewee (voice)

Elsewhere

22. Herring gull
23. Osprey
24. House sparrow
25. Northern cardinal
26. European starling

Cedar waxwing, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 August 2010.

Cedar waxwing.

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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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