24 June 2024

Juncos

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
Birch, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 October 2010.

Birch.

Rain this morning. Steady rain. Fog horns moaning. Jack and I blew off our morning walk and, instead, worked all morning.

Dark-eyed junco, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 October 2010.

Dark-eyed junco.

The rain got heavy by mid-morning—large drops pelting down, sheets of water sliding down the parking lot. Taking Jack out in it, I heard jays, chickadees and crows. The rain had let up by mid-afternoon, but an antic, heavy wetness hung over everything. A world of wind and fog. In late-afternoon, we hit the hill.

Only us again. The air was warm—easily the low-60s (F)—and the wind, while not overly high, felt large and full. Other than jay and crow, the birds I heard while ascending were using their subtle, quiet voices: yellow-rumps, white-throats, juncos. Many juncos, in fact. Dozens—no, scores of them peppering the open trail. I got perhaps my best look at juncos today. They’d peck around in the gravel of the path, looking for seeds and the like, then flush as Jack and slowly approached. But they wouldn’t flit far—into the brushy edges and low tree branches, waiting. We followed them pretty much the whole way up, their white tailfeathers flashing.

Route 17, from Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 October 2010.

Route 17.

Another loud bird made its presence known: a flicker, down the southern slope. On the way up, the fog hung sparse enough to give us a good look at the ruddy landscape, but on the way back down, the wind had risen and the fog was blowing through low and dense, truly an implausible scene. I learned today that a rather high wind won’t necessarily blow the fog away.

Down the western fields I saw movement—a harrier, floating low, hunting. Although I wanted one badly, I couldn’t get a photo. (Damn.) A few minutes later, the big bird showed up again, in thicker fog, hovering no more than a dozen feet off the ground. Again no photo—but I learned that a little fog won’t stop a harrier from hunting.

I could hardly believe how warm the air in such a damp, thick, overcast world. As we descended, scores of tittering juncos cleared the way.

Beech Nut, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 October 2010.

Beech Nut.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 4:15 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Yellow-rumped warbler
2. Blue jay (voice)
3. American crow
4. Dark-eyed junco
5. White-throated sparrow
6. Song sparrow
7. Northern flicker (voice)
8. Black-capped chickadee (voice)
9. Northern harrier

Elsewhere

10. Herring gull

Muted colors, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 27 October 2010.

Muted colors.

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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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