Friday, April 12, 2013

Skipping Spring for a Day


     This past Tuesday was amazingly warm. We reached a high of 84 for the day. I had rode my bike to work and on my way home, especially when riding through Prospect Park I got that awesome summer vibe. People who have been hiding all winter had emerged from hiding. You don't realize how many people populate Brooklyn and Manhattan until the weather gets nice, people just spill from every crack and crevice out into the world. Maybe that is why I enjoy winter hiking so much, so many less people around and much quieter.
     Riding my bike home through the park on a Tuesday didn't feel like a Tuesday afternoon at all, it looked and felt more like a Sunday. People were picnicking, barbecuing, playing sports, fishing, flying kites, on bikes, on roller blades, running, walking, horseback riding, everything! (It felt like the end of the song "Hello Mutha, Hello Fatha") And yes, you can actually ride horses in the heart of Brooklyn. So I decided to go home, shower up because I actually was sweating for once, and head back out in a tank top, talk about crazy, a month ago it snowed 3 inches and we were wearing parkas!
     Anyway, it was so wonderful to be out, I love summer, I love warmth, I love tank tops, I love sandals (I got to wear my keens!), I couldn't not just go home and stay inside. My walk through the park took me off the regular crowded paths through some of the trails where it gets instantly quiet and away from people. The pond was abuzz with insects and palm warblers to catch and eat them. I also spotted both ruby and golden crowned kinglets, chipping sparrows, song sparrows, handsome male ruddy ducks and the more modest females, a great egret, robins, and red-wing blackbirds singing their little hearts out. The warm weather also brought the turtles out to bask on logs, mostly (maybe even all), red eared sliders, an invasive turtle species, most likely brought here by people no longer wanting them as pets. In the pond does lurk some rather large common snapping turtles, I know because on my old commute to Prospect Park Zoo, I'd move them off the main road, either towards their nest site or back to the water (whichever way they were going) and teach some very astonished and sometimes scared park goers about how awesome snapping turtles are and how they, unlike the sliders, belong here. Maybe I'll make some early morning treks later in spring/early summer to see some of those nesting mamas.
      But for now, enjoy some early summer:
A palm warbler caught a fly on the fly. This guy was very acrobatic and was able to catch his food in the air.
A robin forages along the edge of the pond. 
A male ruddy duck is in his breeding plumage. You just have to love that perfect blue bill. Blue is one of my favorite colors in nature, probably because you really don't come across it too often, at least on terrestrial animals.
Another palm warbler looking for some insects to catch. These guys were all along the pond edge.
Talk about good camouflage... 
This golden crowned kinglet was so tiny and just darting around after gnats. 
Two red eared sliders hang out in the lullwater, where there are far less people around.
This female ruby crowned kinglet gives the look of some serious attitude. The males of this species have a red splash of feathers on top of their head. This kinglet felt so much bigger than the golden crowned, she did sit much closer and didn't flit around too much. 
A chipping sparrow out in the meadow. I love these guys, mostly for their call, it reminds me of the "laser" sound that a kids laser toy would make.