30 June 2022

Marsh hawk

Thursday, December 29th, 2011
Northern harrier, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 December 2011.

Northern harrier.

Freakin’ freezing today. Windy. Ice on the parking lot. Low 20s (F), but felt colder. A cloudless day—which sort of explains it—into which dog and I didn’t make it out until late-afternoon.

The trail, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 December 2011.

The trail.

No one else was foolhardy enough to walk up the wind-whipped slopes of Beech Hill, I guess. No mud up there today, at least. Unexpectedly, I saw a little flock of robins fly over the trail as we climbed. They were headed south. A moment later, as I took a photo of the trail behind us, a few more zipped past, apparently, because they’re there in the corner of the photo.

Then, at the frigid, wind-whipped summit, we came upon a northern harrier—or it came upon us. It was soaring just down the western slope from Beech Nut when I saw it, but of course I didn’t have my camera at the ready, and the harrier sailed over the trees to the north. However, as we began our descent, I happened to spot it far down the eastern hillside, careening wildly in the moving air. I followed it from a distance as it dipped and veered and, finally, headed nearer down the southern field, where I got a couple of not particularly stunning photos of a particularly stunning, soaring marsh hawk.

A bright, lovely waxing-crescent moon set behind the oaks this evening. A while later, Jupiter followed—I saw him winking back there. Plenty of stars out. A nippy evening, that’s for sure.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 3:30 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. American robin
2. Northern harrier


3. American crow
4. Black-capped chickadee
5. Tufted titmouse
6. Herring gull
7. American coot
8. Mourning dove

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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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