Monday, April 8, 2013

Brooklyn Salt Marsh: Part 1 - Waterfowl

Low tide exposes tons of mussel beds. This bay is full of mollusks, crustaceans, and other organisms that support the ecosystem. Without them, you can't have all these gorgeous birds, fish, and even reptiles, like diamondback terrapins that inhabit the Jamaica Bay area.
     This place deserves two posts because, well, you'll see. I decided to take a little walk down at the Mill Basin Salt Marsh - it's off of Avenue U in Brooklyn. It is across the street from a cricket field, so its fun to see these guys walking around in matching slacks and sweater vests over their collared shirts, as they go and play, what I have heard is, the worlds longest game. The marsh is a preserve and has a little nature center, I hear they run programming, and it looks like they do some cool stuff!
     The nature center is up where the water ends as the marsh itself, stretches out towards the Belt Parkway, Jamaica Bay, and the Rockaways. It has some great viewing areas for waterfowl and I was very excited because I saw one that was new for me! I love when that happens...
     It was an incredibly windy day and most of the waterfowl were up toward the nature center, the water was calmer and the tides were low and just starting to come in. This made it really easy to sit on the ledge behind the center and just see quite a few species just acting naturally. There were still some winter visitors hanging around, did they get the memo that spring is finally here?!
     Waterfowl spotted for the day included ruddy ducks, mallards, American black ducks, brant, gadwall, buffleheads, Northern shovelers, and American wigeons.
Absolutely gorgeous, even with all the wind. That is the bridge that will take you from Flatbush Ave Brooklyn to the Rockaways in Queens.
Male and female Northern shovelers just hanging around. I love those oversized bills, they are serious dabbling bills.
A first for me! American Wigeons! I thought at first they were green-wing teals. The female is in the foreground and the male is behind, dabbling in the mud, foraging.
Male and female wigeons again. I'd love to know who came up with wigeon... and why.
A pied billed grebe comes up from a dive. I love how you can see the rest of the bird just under the water.
Male and female buffleheads. Both looking quite buffle in the head. These guys are going to probably skidaddle soon, back to their summer grounds, mostly in Central Canada.
     For more information about the Nature Center and Preserve in Mill Basin/Marine Park Brooklyn, check them out and have yourself a visit!