Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 18: Summer Songs

My husband and I went for a long hike today on Mount Megunticook in Camden Hills State Park. We wanted to get outside together on this beautiful day, get some exercise, and enjoy the views from on high, but we were surprised by how many birds were singing in the shady mixed forest through which winds the Ridge and Jack Williams Trails. We started off at the Maiden's Cliff trailhead, and as we began the climb up to the ridge line, heard what I thought was a scarlet tanager. Because he wasn't singing his full song, it wasn't till we had completed the entire hike and returned miles later to that same place when we confirmed that it was indeed a tanager (he finally gave his characteristic "chick burr" call) and then we were even able to find the vivid red bird gleaning bugs among the oak leaves overhead.

My favorite birdsong in these summer woods is that of the hermit thrush: angelic notes tumbling down from the trees, clear and haunting in the lush forest air. We passed several singing thrushes, to our delight, as well as another Maine forest favorite, a winter wren, whose lovely, complex song goes on and on, seemingly rising out of the trees themselves.

Although we expected to hear black-throated green warblers, which seem to sing all summer, we were surprised to hear several black-throated blue warblers and a Blackburnian warbler. When I commented on how unusual that seemed, my husband suggested that that's what I should write about for today's haiku. Ever the dutiful wife, I did so:

On the mountainside,
height of day, height of summer:
warbler still singing.

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