24 June 2024

Posts Tagged ‘common nighthawk’

Here comes the sun

Sunday, May 29th, 2011
Gray catbird, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 May 2011.

Gray catbird.

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.

Savannah sparrow, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 May 2011.

Savannah sparrow.

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.

Eastern phoebe, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 May 2011.

Eastern phoebe.

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)
6. Veery
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
26. Osprey


27. House finch
28. Mourning dove
29. White-breasted nuthatch
30. Black-throated green warbler
31. Northern cardinal
32. Common nighthawk

Eastern chipmunk, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 29 May 2011.

Eastern chipmunk.

Glorious day

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
Alder flycatcher, Beech Hill, Maine, 25 May 2011.

Alder flycatcher.

About midnight last night, a bunch of birds woke up. I’d gone out for one last check of the night sky when I heard little chips and peeps. Then an ovenbird’s crazy call in the trees out back. And a yellowthroat’s song from across the road. I wondered if perhaps some of the chips came from warblers just arrived and looked forward to a sunny morning hike for a change.

Yellow warbler, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 25 May 2011.

Yellow warbler.

And sunny it was. Maybe, had we not had twenty rainy days in May so far, today wouldn’t have felt so glorious—but, man, did it feel glorious. And the early hill was alive with birds.

Warblers, a pair of cowbirds, nuthatches, thrushes. Catbirds, towhees, two kinds of vireo. A chickadee fledgling shivering with excitement when its parent showed up with more food. Then I heard it: the call of my first alder flycatcher of the year. Just yesterday I’d been worrying about the absence of this common local flycatcher; today they were singing from all over the hill. Along with a number of least flycatchers, a great crested, and phoebes. Watched a raven fly over. Then saw a broad-winged hawk fly over. At the upper fields, a hummingbird buzzed by my ear.

Got decent photos of a yellow warbler. (There must’ve been a dozen up there singing.) All resident sparrows were singing, too—well, except for chippies. Down at the Beech Hill Road parking lot, I was surprised to hear the unmistakable trill of a red-bellied woodpecker, another first-of-year bird. (Which reminds me: still no cuckoos.) Then on our return trip, I saw a red-tail soar by, and a pair of crows rose to escort it away. Spotted a pair of kingbirds perched in a little tree beside the trail (first of year). Heard titmouse, tree swallow, dove.

Just before we arrived back at our starting point, I recognized a new warbler song—a loud collection of chips—coming from a newly blooming apple tree near the sugarbush. I thought I recognized the call but wanted a peek. And got one: a Tennessee warbler (also first of year).

Jack and I spent more than two hours on the hill this morning, during which time I added forty-five species to my daily list.

Tennessee warbler, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 25 May 2011.

Tennessee warbler.

Not long after, while working at my desk, I heard the cries of laughing gulls from out my open windows. (First laughing gulls of the year.) And later, while taking a sweet, long bike ride, I added a couple more species.

Finally, about 8:30 p.m., I heard the repeated peent! of a nighthawk flying over my place—my sixth first-of-year bird on what sure felt like a glorious day.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 7 a.m., I hiked all trails.

1. Ovenbird
2. Hairy woodpecker (voice)
3. Common yellowthroat
4. Black-throated green warbler
5. Brown-headed cowbird
6. American robin
7. Black-capped chickadee
8. Chestnut-sided warbler
9. White-breasted nuthatch (voice)
10. Black-and-white warbler
11. Eastern towhee
12. Veery (voice)
13. American redstart (voice)
14. Rose-breasted grosbeak (voice)
15. Red-eyed vireo
16. Gray catbird
17. Northern parula (voice)
18. Blue-headed vireo
19. Alder flycatcher
20. Common raven
21. White-throated sparrow
22. Blue jay
23. Yellow warbler
24. American crow
25. Least flycatcher
26. Northern flicker (voice)
27. Black-throated blue warbler (voice)
28. Great crested flycatcher (voice)
29. American goldfinch (voice)
30. Broad-winged hawk
31. Ruby-throated hummingbird
32. Wild turkey (voice)
33. Song sparrow
34. Herring gull (voice)
35. Savannah sparrow
36. Field sparrow
37. Eastern phoebe (voice)
38. Hermit thrush (voice)
39. Red-bellied woodpecker (voice)
40. Red-tailed hawk
41. Eastern kingbird
42. Tufted titmouse (voice)
43. Tree swallow
44. Mourning dove (voice)
45. Tennessee warbler

Ruby-throated hummingbird, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 25 May 2011.

Ruby-throated hummingbird.


46. House finch
47. House sparrow
48. Laughing gull
49. European starling
50. Chipping sparrow
51. Northern cardinal
52. Cedar waxwing
53. Common nighthawk

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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