Saturday, April 19, 2014

Are you sure it's spring?

     First I want to share that seeing a rare bird in Prospect Park has been an absolute thrilling experience. My sighting was even mentioned (without my name - but I know that's mine) in an interview with Paul Sweet, who works in the Ornithology Dept. at the American Museum of Natural History, on the Brian Lehrer Show. I also submitted my first observation report for my rare bird sighting to the American Birding Association, where one can submit and look up local area sightings.
     It is moments like this that I live for, discovery, adventure, and fun in nature. This is the reason I am passionate about science, we have natural inquiring minds and finding something out of the ordinary really gets my heart pumping. In the moment of sighting that bird I know I was smiling, I know I ran across the patch of grass between paths to follow it, I know I exclaimed out loud to myself (like the crazy animal lady that I am) "Oh my God, is that really a kite?!" That my friends, was some serious passion and love of nature happening, right there - and also pure happiness, something I very much needed.
     On Thursday, 4/17, I went for a walk in Prospect Park, to escape the continuous lesson planning I have been doing in my preparation to return to school next week. My walk was overcast, breezy, and COLD. So cold, I wished that I had gloves and a scarf on. By time I got home my hands were red, chapped, and icy cold. Spring made a brief appearance, and then it snowed two days later. I wonder what toll this weather is taking on the inhabitants of Prospect Park. The highlight of my walk was a Louisiana water thrush, a palm warbler (my first for the year), and a red tail hawk, perched up in a tree.
A mallard drake is in pursuit of a hen in front of the Boat House.
This Chipmunk came out of hibernation and is NOT impressed with the weather.
My first (of many) palm warbler sighting of the year.
It was 46 degrees out. The fact that these red eared sliders are still out, powering up in the sun, really is a great show of how these turtles are able to outcompete the native turtles in the area. These turtles are invasive exotics that are most likely released unwanted pets.
A Louisiana water thrush foraging in the upper pool. 
Can you find the water thrush? A really great show of this animals' ability to camouflage! 
I always love a fat squirrel... 
Red tail hawks also love a fat squirrel...
Perched on one foot, feathers fluffed up, keeping warm as the wind blows over the cold neathermead.
Who's watching who?