photograph and text by Brian Willson

Northern harrier (Beech Hill, Rockport, 08 April 2013).

Nothing like a lovely warm April day—up to 60 (F) or even above, sunny, breezy—to lure a few first-of-year birds up here to the 44th parallel. It all started early, when I awoke to the call of a FOY eastern phoebe. Could not resist a long bicycle ride, during which I saw or heard a dozen birds, at least. On my return home, I caught sight of a pair of FOY tree swallows. And on my long Beech Hill hike with Jack, I got a pair of FOY harriers and overlying FOY redwings.

Warmest day of the year so far, I’m pretty sure. Also the most bird species of the year—maybe. Topped off by a tiny golden-crowned kinglet I saw high in the crown of a hardwood down the lower wooded Beech Hill trail at nearly 7 p.m.

Now I’m gonna step out and see if any woodcocks are sky-dancing.

The summit (Beech Hill, Rockport, 08 April 2013).

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 5:30 p.m., I hiked all trails.

1. American crow*
2. American robin*
3. Wild turkey (v)
4. White-throated sparrow
5. Northern harrier†
6. Song sparrow*
7. Black-capped chickadee**
8. Turkey vulture*
9. Tufted titmouse** (v)
10. Barred owl (v)
11. Red-winged blackbird†
12. Canada goose* (v)
13. White-breasted nuthatch (v)
14. Golden-crowned kinglet


15. Eastern phoebe† (v)
16. House finch (v)
17. Northern cardinal (v)
18. Herring gull
19. Rock pigeon
20. American goldfinch (v)
21. Tree swallow†

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere
†First-of-year bird