24 June 2024

Posts Tagged ‘greater black-backed gull’

Good Birds

Sunday, September 25th, 2022
Yellow-rumped Warbler, Monhegan Island, Maine, 25 September 2022.
Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Monhegan List

1. Herring Gull
2. European Starling
3. Mourning Dove
4. Northern Flicker
5. Merlin
6. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
7. Downy Woodpecker
8. Yellow-rumped Warbler
9. Canada Goose
10. American Goldfinch
11. American Robin
12. American Black Duck
13. Blue Jay
14. Black-and-white Warbler
15. Palm Warbler
16. Carolina Wren
17. Sharp-shinned Hawk
18. Common Raven
19. Peregrine Falcon
20. White-throated Sparrow
21. Song Sparrow
22. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
23. Golden-crowned Kinglet
24. Black-capped Chickadee
25. Greater Black-backed Gull
26. Red-breasted Nuthatch
27. Northern Harrier
28. Red-eyed Vireo
29. Green-winged Teal
30. Rusty Blackbird
31. Blackpoll Warbler
32. Mallard
33. Belted Kingfirhser
34. Common Grackle
35. Double-crested Cormorant
36. Cedar Waxwing
37. Eastern Phoebe
38. Common Yellowthroat

Big ol’ day

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Ruby-crowned kinglet, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 April 2011.

Ruby-crowned kinglet.

In the course of a year—at least in my experience—only a handful of days will really get a diehard birder’s heart a-pumping. Well, today was one of those days.

Rose early, dressed quickly, got Jack’s leash on him, and headed out into a cool, mostly cloudy morning. On the way out I noticed that the phoebes were still hanging around, so I suppose it’s possible they’ll tend the nest they’ve built above one of the windows on the back of my place. That’d be nice, if so.

Yellow-rumped warbler, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 April 2011.

Yellow-rumped warbler.

As we piled into the pickup, I heard the resident house finch singing. Then, driving up Powerhouse Hill, I spotted a black-backed gull dining on roadkill—a big lump of an animal, in fact, that looked to be a beaver. A few robins and mourning doves flitted out of our way as we motored along South Street. We pulled into the parking lot at right about 6:30.

And as soon as I got out of the truck, I knew I was in for a good one: two ovenbirds were calling, and a black-throated green warbler, and a hermit thrush, a chickadee, and a chestnut-sided warbler—three of those five being first-of-year species. In my first dozen steps or so, I added to that list a white-breasted nuthatch, a phoebe, a Nashville warbler (first-of-year bird), a white-throat, a towhee, a goldfinch, and a robin. And before we reached the first turn, I heard the cries of a herring gull, the caws of a crow, and the chips of a yellow-rump.

Wow.

We climbed the upper wooded trail—the best spring birding trail on the hill, I’ve found—and heard the rattling of a flicker and the mews of a catbird (first-of-year). Then I caught wind of a rollicking, unfamiliar song. It sounded almost like a Carolina wren. I thought about leaving the trail to chase it down, but the swarms of black flies around my head reminded me that ticks would certainly be awaiting us off in the tall grass and brush. Besides, I got distracted by the sibilant wind-up call of a black-and-white warbler (FOY) coming from ahead of us and thought maybe I could track that down instead.

Palm warbler, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 April 2011.

Palm warbler.

Didn’t manage to find the black-and-white, but the unfamiliar call seemed to be following us up the trail. Or perhaps these were other individuals of the same species. I kept my ears peeled.

Then we stumbled into a big, moving flock of white-throats. They were calling and singing and scratching all around us—must’ve been a score of them, at least—but they’re so adept at keeping low and hidden that, try as I might, I never managed a decent photo. However, I did hear the call of a pileated woodpecker and the song of a purple finch.

Suddenly, coming around a curve through low, tangled, leafing-out foliage, I heard the unfamiliar song very nearby. We stopped. And a small plain bird flitted into some brushy growth directly in front of us. I recognized it right away as a ruby-crowned kinglet. (So that’s what their song sounded like! I won’t soon forget it.) I nearly got a great photo, even, but my focus was off.

Entering the upper fields, I heard field sparrows and the witchety-witchety-witchety! of a yellowthroat. Then the burbles of tree swallows. There were four swallows—the most expert flyers of all—chasing about in the spring air.

Chipping sparrow, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 April 2011.

Chipping sparrow.

A few blackbirds flew over. Then a solitary kestrel. And then we came upon the yell0w-rumps.

There must’ve been a hundred yellow-rumped warblers dashing about the edges of the trees beneath the eastern side of the hill. Singing, flashing their yellow sides and crests and butts, diving into the brush, darting up into low limbs. We stood for a good while just watching their antic behavior. I heard a sort of rattling song then and noticed that a few palm warblers were mixed in with the ‘rumps. And while I was watching them all, to my surprise, the riveting squeal of a cowbird came from the crown of a tree directly above us.

Heard a hairy woodpecker, heard a blue jay, heard (then saw) song sparrows. Coming up over the hill, I thrilled to the sound of three of four dueling savannah sparrows, each singing loud (or as loud as they can) and declaratively. The little males’ yellow eyebrows really pop out during breeding season.

Field sparrow, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 April 2011.

Field sparrow.

Several field sparrows were singing and flying around down along the open trail. Also a chipping sparrow’s rapid-fire call was coming from the same tall spruce it claimed last year. (I feel sure it’s the same bird). Saw other chippies, also, and heard a titmouse, a robin, and another black-throated green.

After having compiled such a long list already, I couldn’t imagine adding a single other species—but coming back up and over, I heard the telltale, disjointed phrases of a blue-headed vireo (FOY). Soon the hill will ring with the calls of red-eyed vireos, but the early bird is the blue-headed. I won’t hear them very often later in the season, so I plan to enjoy their music while I can.

In all, we spent more than two hours on the hill this morning, Jack and I. We got back home before 9. Elsewhere, I spotted cormorant, vulture, pigeon, starling. And last I checked, the phoebes were still flitting around out back.

Mental note: get up at 6 tomorrow and have another memorable early morning hike up Beech Hill.

Savannah sparrow, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 April 2011.

Savannah sparrow.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 6:30 a.m., I hiked all trails.

1. Ovenbird (voice)
2. Black-throated green warbler
3. Hermit thrush
4. Black-capped chickadee
5. Chestnut-sided warbler (voice)
6. White-breasted nuthatch
7. Eastern phoebe
8. Nashville warbler (voice)
9. White-throated sparrow
10. Eastern towhee
11. American goldfinch
12. American robin
13. Herring gull (voice)
14. American crow
15. Yellow-rumped warbler
16. Northern flicker
17. Gray catbird (voice)
18. Ruby-crowned kinglet
19. Black-and-white warbler (voice)
20. Pileated woodpecker (voice)
21. Purple finch (voice)
22. Field sparrow
23. Common yellowthroat
24. Tree swallow
25. Red-winged blackbird
26. American kestrel
27. Palm warbler
28. Brown-headed cowbird
29. Hairy woodpecker (voice)
30. Blue jay (voice)
31. Song sparrow
32. Savannah sparrow
33. Tufted titmouse (voice)
34. Chipping sparrow
35. Blue-headed vireo (voice)

Hermit thrush, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 30 April 2011.

Hermit thrush.

Elsewhere

36. House finch
37. Greater black-backed gull
38. Mourning dove
39. Double-crested cormorant
40. Turkey vulture
41. Rock pigeon
42. European starling

Monhegan

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Merlin, Monhegan Island, Maine, 26 September 2010.

Merlin.

The day dawned overcast and much cooler than yesterday. Much cooler. So cool that I was wearing a long-sleeved undershirt, a heavy overshirt, and a hooded sweatshirt as the Elizabeth Ann pulled away from Port Clyde en route to Monhegan.

Dickcissel, Monhegan Island, Maine, 26 September 2010.

Dickcissel.

Out in Muscongus Bay, there were herring, black-backed, and laughing gulls, black guillemots, loons, cormorants, and eiders. Also, nearing the island, northern gannets. Saw no seals or whales or harbor porpoises, though. No bald eagles. A low blue cloud hung ominously off to the east.

Once arrived, I was soon walking the trails with my birding friends Kristen and Bill, watching merlin after merlin dart swiftly across the overcast. Above Manana Island, a pair of peregrines dipped and veered, alternately chasing gulls and ravens—and possibly diving after huge flocks of goldfinches. Everywhere we looked, in fact, there seemed to be flocks of goldfinches. Remarkable, for sure.

Red-eyed vireo, Monhegan Island, Maine, 26 September 2010.

Red-eyed vireo.

But where else can you go on this earth and see merlins and peregrines and kestrels just about every time you scan the sky? Where else and when else? Oh, there probably are place-time combinations that’ll let you see these three species along with gyrfalcons gathering during fall migration. Still, this is the second time I’ve been here in late-September and seen some species of falcon pretty much any time I wanted to. They’re such expert and entertaining flyers. I can’t imagine tiring of this.

In the brush up beyond the lighthouse we saw sparrows and vireos and a dickcissel. White-throated, song, white-crowned, and clay-colored sparrows; red-eyed and Philadelphia vireos. And all this in only my first afternoon, and in less-than-idea weather.

Happy to be here.

White-crowned sparrow (juvenile), Monhegan Island, Maine, 26 September 2010.

White-crowned sparrow (juvenile).

Monhegan List
(Not in order of sighting.)

1. Wood duck
2. Mallard
3. Blue-winged teal
4. Double-crested cormorant
5. American kestrel
6. Merlin
7. Peregrine falcon
8. Herring gull
9. Greater black-backed gull
10. Mourning dove
11. Belted kingfisher
12. Downy woodpecker
13. Northern flicker
14. Philadelphia vireo
15. Red-eyed vireo
16. Blue jay
17. American crow
18. Common raven
19. Black-capped chickadee
20. Red-breasted nuthatch
21. White-breasted nuthatch
22. Hermit thrush
23. Brown thrasher
24. Cedar waxwing
25. Yellow-rumped warbler
26. Clay-colored sparrow
27. Song sparrow
28. White-throated sparrow
29. White-crowned sparrow
30. Dark-eyed junco
31. Dickcissel
32. American goldfinch

Elsewhere

33. Common eider
34. Common loon
35. Northern gannet
36. Great blue heron
37. Laughing gull
38. Black guillemot
39. American robin

Belted kingfisher, Monhegan Island, Maine, 26 September 2010.

Belted kingfisher.

 
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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