11 December 2019 Rockport, Maine, USA 

Sun-drenched landscape

Monday, August 29th, 2011
Red-eyed vireo, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 August 2011.

Red-eyed vireo.

If I were asked to concoct a perfect day, weather-wise, it might look something like this one. Sun drenched the morning landscape. Very few clouds, light wind. Quite a contrast to conditions not very many hours ago.

Red-eyed vireo, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 August 2011.

Red-eyed vireo.

The usual birds were out carousing—crows, chickadees, gulls, cardinals. I spent a typically busy Monday at my desk but, by mid-afternoon, couldn’t fight off my hankering for my first bike ride since the remnants of Tropical Storm Irene raked the coast with moderate rain and fairly blustery winds. (Considering the forecast, we were pretty damn lucky.) And it was a nice ride. Plus, a number of birds were out, especially in Rockport Village. Sparrow, nuthatch, cardinal. Wrapped up work after my ride then hurried with Jack up to Beech Hill.

Sun drenched the afternoon landscape. A little gang of chickadees greeted us as we turned into the lot. Heard goldfinches, waxwings. and, coming up the rise, a distant flicker. A few frogs chirped, no doubt encouraged by the recent rain. Scraps of loose clouds hung in the west, just this side of the sun. Hardly any wind at all.

We met a couple hikers, one of them a Texan with a dog. (We even talked Longhorns football for a little while—a Beech Hill first for me.) The tall mast of a visiting super yacht towered over the bay just beyond the tree line up Camden way. Heard crows, towhees, and two more flickers bantering back and forth. Then, down at the berry patch (ate eight or ten blackberries, eight or ten blueberries), a yellowthroat sang and a catbird chattered.

Landscape, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 August 2011.

Landscape.

Returning, I caught sight of a couple song sparrows flitting in the brush near Beech Nut. In fact, most birds were still behaving secretively—that is, until we got back near the road, when I heard a minor commotion of chickadees in the trees. We stopped so I could scan for other birds, and sure enough I got a glimpse of a warbler of some kind. I couldn’t ID its chip. (Maybe a yellow?) While working to focus in on the little bird, I saw two larger ones up there—vireos. We moved a bit closer and stood there a moment. Suddenly the vireos swooped down into a berry bush not ten feet from us. Got a blurry photo of both together, then some decent shots of one eating berries. In fact, I believe it’s the best photos I’ve yet managed of any kind of vireo.

Tonight is cool and still. Stars everywhere. A starlit landscape, you might say.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 5:30 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Black-capped chickadee
2. American goldfinch (voice)
3. Cedar waxwing (voice)
4. Northern flicker (voice)
5. American crow (voice)
6. Eastern towhee (voice)
7. Northern raven
8. Common yellowthroat (voice)
9. Gray catbird (voice)
10. Song sparrow
11. Red-eyed vireo

Elsewhere

12. Herring gull
13. Rock pigeon
14. House sparrow
15. White-breasted nuthatch
16. Northern cardinal

Beech Nut, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 August 2011.

Beech Nut.

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Bird Report is an intermittent record of what's outside my window in Rockport, Maine, USA (44°08'N latitude, 69°06'W longitude), and vicinity. —Brian Willson



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