This day began a little soggy still, which was not exactly surprising. The air felt warmer, though. A house finch and a redstart sang.
Got more desk work done this morning, then about midday—perhaps a little after—I looked out to see a partly blue sky, and sun, and shadows. I managed to resist the urge until mid-afternoon or so when, with the sun still fading in and out, Jack and I jumped in the pickup with our daily Beech Hill hike in mind.
It must’ve been 70 degrees (F). A benign breeze blew. Ours was the only vehicle in the parking lot when we arrived. Not a lot of birds right away—although one of them was a great crested flycatcher. But we walked slowly along the upper trail, and they began to sing. Goldfinch, vireo, veery, towhee. Heard ovenbirds, yellowthroats, a black-and-white warbler. At the fields, catbirds, song sparrows, yellow warblers. At two points along the trails, I heard cedar waxwings—only the second time I’ve heard them up there this year (I’m pretty sure), whereas in past years they’ve been on my list nearly ever day in season. (Maybe they’re just late.)
Climbing through the little wooded area before the summit, I thought sure I heard a red-bellied woodpecker, but in two or three other places I heard the calls of gray treefrogs and began to second-guess my woodpecker “sighting.” Just in case, I decided not to include it on today’s list.
By the time we’d reached Beech Nut, the day had mostly cleared. If not for ticks, I could’ve worn shorts and a T-shirt. Tree swallows sailed gracefully over the reddening blueberry barrens, and I heard alder flycatchers here and there. Also got close to a singing savannah sparrow for a change. (They haven’t had many of the kind of sunny days they seem to prefer.) Met several people on the trails—birding friends, old acquaintances—and had some nice conversations. A rare lovely afternoon seems to put everyone in a good mood.
Coming back down along the lower wooded trail, where mosquitos rivaled black flies in the bloodsucking department, I heard—then saw—an osprey in overflight. The twenty-sixth and last species of the day. Not bad for siesta time.
Later, back home, I watched the nuthatches tend there cavity nest and got a distant photo of the redstart. A cardinal chipped from the shrubbery. And after sunset, I heard the peent! of a nighthawk flying by.
Beech Hill List
Beginning at 3:45 p.m., I hiked all trails.
1. Black-capped chickadee
2. Chestnut-sided warbler (voice)
3. Great crested flycatcher (voice)
4. American goldfinch (voice)
5. Red-eyed vireo (voice)
7. Eastern towhee (voice)
8. Ovenbird (voice)
9. Common yellowthroat
10. Gray catbird
11. Cedar waxwing (voice)
12. Black-and-white warbler (voice)
13. Yellow warbler (voice)
14. Alder flycatcher (voice)
15. American crow
16. Song sparrow
17. Eastern phoebe
18. Savannah sparrow
19. Tree swallow
20. American redstart (voice)
21. Rose-breasted grosbeak (voice)
22. Chipping sparrow (voice)
23. American robin (voice)
24. Northern parula (voice)
25. Hermit thrush
27. House finch
28. Mourning dove
29. White-breasted nuthatch
30. Black-throated green warbler
31. Northern cardinal
32. Common nighthawk
Tags: alder flycatcher, American crow, American goldfinch, American redstart, American robin, black-and-white warbler, black-capped chickadee, black-throated green warbler, Cedar waxwing, chestnut-sided warbler, chipping sparrow, common nighthawk, common yellowthroat, eastern phoebe, eastern towhee, gray catbird, great crested flycatcher, hermit thrush, house finch, mourning dove, northern cardinal, northern parula, osprey, ovenbird, red-eyed vireo, rose-breasted grosbeak, savannah sparrow, song sparrow, tree swallow, veery, white-breasted nuthatch, yellow warbler