Posts Tagged With: kestrel hill

Things are buzzing

It’s going to be an exceptional year for apples. All our trees are loaded down and a few apples are starting to fall to the ground. I see a lot of applesauce in my future.

The goldenrod is attracting many varieties of pollinators, from fat bumblebees to tiny glossy metallic critters that hover and dive like dragonflies. Even the yellow jackets aren’t aggressive while feeding. The whole patch is in a constant state of whir and buzz. Maybe they sense the days growing shorter, adding urgency to all they do.

I haven’t seen any Monarch caterpillars in the milkweed patch, though a few butterflies have visited it.

Despite the unseasonable heat this week, fall is coming fast. I’m starting to see the first color in the sumacs and in the swamp maples across the pond. My favorite season is almost here!

Categories: apples, flowers, insects | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Yard bird #110!

Wow, am I ever glad I went outside! While watching a male American Redstart atop the apple tree, I saw another bird winging in. At first I thought it was a Green Heron, but the wingbeats were too rapid, and as it neared I could see a distinctive tern-like bend in the wings. It flew right overhead, not much higher than the tops of the spruce trees — a dark bird, with — YES — white slashes on the wings! 

Common Nighthawk! I’ve been out every evening for over a week looking for them in migration. What a piece of luck — a few seconds before I’d been standing underneath the tree and would have missed it entirely.

I walked up the tower road to look for more Nighthawks. No luck with them, but I scored a serene sunset.

In case you’re curious about the view from the top of Kestrel Hill, here you go.



Categories: scenery, Species count, Yard first | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Kestrel Hill

That’s not its real name, of course. The 1950s survey map marked it ‘Beacon Hill’, indicating it once had a navigation light long before the cell phone tower that now tops it. Or it might be Shaver’s Hill, for the family that’s owned the farmland for decades, whose name is on headstones in the town cemetery going back 150 years and whose cows browse our apple trees on occasion.

I drove down this road often before we started house-hunting. I noticed the house at the high point of the road when the For Sale sign went up — a modest ranch bordered by field and woodlot and pond, the hill rising behind it. Although it was empty the lawn remained meticulously mowed (something we’ve never managed). I admired the variety of habitat in such a small area — pine and deciduous woods, dead snags, pasture, pond, wetland and hilltop. So when we needed to find a home with space for children and dogs to run, out of town but not too far, within our means, the little house snugged under the hill spoke to us.

On the day we moved in, the Kestrels that nested in the barn across the field soared by, welcoming us. Kestrel Hill it became.

It’s been 21 years. The yard is a lot shaggier and more overgrown than it once was. We look at old pictures and wonder, when did all those trees grow in? Surely we only planted a few raspberry canes there — how did it become a jungle? But we’re still here, and so are the descendants of the original kestrels from the barn. Just last week I saw one buzzed by dozens of swallows flying off with a swallow in his foot. Yesterday the same male zipped across the fields, hotly pursued by two swallows, a goldfinch, and one determined hummingbird.

It’s a good place for sunsets

and moonrise,



IMG_5675 2

and rainbows.


It’s powdered or pounded by snow

brushed by hoarfrost or encased in ice.

It’s golden in late winter


and a hundred greens in spring and summer.

We may be menaced by a Scotsman or zeppelin at times

but we’ve got a trebuchet to protect us!


Yes, the view from Kestrel Hill is always new.

Categories: scenery, Why? | Tags: , | 7 Comments

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