Thanksgiving Day. Another lovely, sunny, coldish one. But the most obvious difference from yesterday: no wind. At least none that I could see from down here on the shores of Clam Cove. Nary a diehard leaf stirring. This made me think my Beech Hill hike with dog would be a fine one.
That should tell you something about expectations.
We took off in mid-morning. Little traffic en route. But then coming up South Street, at the base of the hill, we came upon three or four men in hunter’s-orange caps wrangling a newly killed and bled deer into the bed of a pickup truck. I have to say that gave me a little chill.
The parking lot had several cars in it. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was—mildly so. I pulled Jack’s bright vest over his back and we hit the trail.
Coming around the first little curve I realized that this was not a windless day, after all. In fact, there was quite a little breeze blowing. And it occurred to me then that this day was also a little bit colder than yesterday—possibly even sub-freezing. No birds that I could hear, but the blue sky glowed, and I could see a few wispy clouds hovering high above Beech Nut.
On the trail we met numerous humans and a few canines, Jack and I. The humans tended to occur in groups of individuals of all ages, including juveniles in fluffy insulated suits much like the one worn by the little kid in A Christmas Story. Nearly all the dogs wore orange bandanas.
Off in the distant south-southeast, the North Atlantic blazed a brilliant white. On the grassy, wind-whipped summit, a couple bundled children squealed and chased; their parents wished us a happy Thanksgiving, Jack and me. I scanned the far shore through my binoculars, but I saw no gulls flying out there. Lacking foresight, I hadn’t brought gloves. The wind benumbed my fingers.
Descending again, I thought I might’ve heard a crow, but I couldn’t be sure. More gangs of people were climbing the trail. All seemed in good spirits and were particularly full of smiles.
Back at the pickup, I stood quietly for three or four minutes, listening. Didn’t even hear a chickadee.
On the drive back, above Clam Cove, I saw a gull. And back home I did see crows and hear chickadees and the voice of solitary house sparrow across the road. I was thankful for them, and I counted my blessings.
Tonight the stars are bright again, and Jupiter is a pure point in the high south sky. Tomorrow there’s supposed to be a chance of snow.
Beech Hill List
Beginning at 10:45 a.m., I hiked the open trail
(No bird species seen today.)
1. American crow
2. House sparrow
3. Herring gull
4. Black-capped chickadee