24 June 2024

Weather, wind, and warblers

Sunday, October 30th, 2011
Yellow-rumped warbler, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 October 2011.

Yellow-rumped warbler.

I rose early this morning to take advantage of the low tide and the wide expanse at Birch Point Beach State Park, where Jack and I met our friends Boone and Donna. The dogs raced after the tennis ball like a merlin after a sandpiper. Jack’s chases got so urgent that he took a couple dramatic diggers and would up with a few abrasions on his extremities—but he had a blast doing it. Out in the water, I saw what looked to be cormorants, loons, and/or grebes of some kind, but they were too far away to ID for sure. Black ducks in the little estuary.

Yellow rumped-warbler, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 October 2011.

Yellow rumped-warbler.

The sun stayed out for the whole hour or so of play-time, but portentous clouds appeared from the south and east, and the sky soon grew whitish gray. Then darker gray. The morning forecast called for eight to twelve inches of wet snow tonight and tomorrow, along with winds gusting to seventy-five miles an hour. (Say what?) That got me thinking about the gigantic oak tree that overhangs my place.

But never mind that. I did a little work, pulled down all the storm windows, broke out the snow shovels, tied down anything that might blow away, battened down the hatches. Then Jack and I took off for our daily Beech Hill hike.

Interestingly, we were not alone up there. Three or four other parties had decided to hike the chilly, breezy trails. Remembering it was the first day of deer season, I put Jack’s little blaze orange saddle on his back. Plenty of birds were chattering at us as we started up—chickadees, kinglets, a white-throated sparrow, more yellow-rumped warblers. Many yellow-rumped warblers, matter of fact. I got to wondering if they perhaps migrate a bit grudgingly. Two of them traveling together stopped in some trailside shrubbery about half-way up the slope. Several others flew over, chipping. And at the summit we stumbled onto a solitary ‘rump working to choke down an enormous caterpillar of some kind—enormous compared to the bird, at least. First it battered its meal a few times against the rock wall surrounding Beech Nut. Then it flitted down into the clover and nibbled and pecked and stuffed the thing in its mouth and struggled to gag it down. For long minutes it tried to swallow the fat worm. Never managed to while we were watching it.

Tufted titmouse, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 October 2011.

Tufted titmouse.

I saw no coots on Chickie today. But coming up and down, I heard and/or saw crows, jays, and a couple flickers. Then back at the parking lot, some titmice showed up. And a nuthatch.

If the weather people prove foresightful, tomorrow’s will be a different sort of hike.

The wind picked up come evening. After dark, it began to rain and blow. Just now, in the wee hours, there’s sure enough snow flying out there, but it doesn’t seem to be sticking to anything. Yet. It’ll be interesting to see what the world looks like come dawn.

Beech Hill List

Beginning at 2:15 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Black-capped chickadee
2. Golden-crowned kinglet (voice)
3. White-throated sparrow
4. Hairy woodpecker (voice)
5. Yellow-rumped warbler
6. American crow
7. Blue jay
8. Northern flicker (voice)
9. Tufted titmouse
10. White-breasted nuthatch (voice)

Elsewhere

11. Herring gull
12. Rock pigeon
13. American goldfinch
14. American black duck

The bay, from Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 October 2011.

The bay.

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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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