Thursday, October 16, 2014

Channeling My Inner Norton

     Ralph tells Norton on an episode of The Honeymooners, "I don't know why a man of your age watches birds." Norton replies, "Why shouldn't I watch them? They watch me, don't they?" I feel like when I'm out that the birds are doing just that, hang tight long enough and sometimes they get closer than you'd expect.
     In that same episode, Norton records how he just saw a yellow-bellied sapsucker in Central Park. I especially thought of this episode because I got the chance to finally see my very first yellow-bellied sapsucker. Norton also exclaims how they are not supposed to be seen for within 3,000 miles of where they are. If that were true, he better have made a Rare Bird Report, but indeed these sapsuckers are normal to the area, and they do have yellow bellies, and they do suck sap.
     A walk today in Prospect Park after the clouds and rain cleared:
On the third day of warm spring-like temperatures, this squirrel reminds us, like the characters in Game of Thrones that "winter is coming." 
A juvenile mute swan slowly transforms from its "ugly duckling" juvenile plumage to the white adult plumage.
A red-eared slider takes in the last warm days. These invasive turtles though, can totally be seen on warm winter days basking!
Chipmunks are also gearing up, they don't hibernate like bears do, they store food in their burrows, instead of bears which build up fat reserves. Unlike bears, they will wake up to eat food stored in their burrow as well as do their business. 
This (what I am fairly sure to be) a Swainson's Thrush seemed a bit off. Like maybe it flew into something or just had a tussle with another creature. He seemed to walk okay and looked to need a rest, so I shuffled him off to the side of the trail to where there was cover. Normally these birds are so "puffy" which made it hard to ID, but the "buffy" color to its face matches that of a Swainson's.

An American lady, thats really the name of this butterfly.

Male and female wood ducks in a Monet painting?
Autumn, my favorite tree near the upper and lower pools.
And just like Norton, not only did I see one, but two! Yellow-bellied Sapsucker!
Clearly in search of more sap to suck.
I have never seen a sapsucker, just evidence of them... They drill holes in trees, these wells drip sap, as the tree tries to patch up and heal this "wound" that the sapsuckers feed from. They will make a series of wells to tap for sap, and trees then end up looking like this.
Hiding in the reeds, another first, a marsh wren! I ventured into "the vale" in Prospect Park today, I never visited here, but it's like being in a storybook. And funny, that was kind of what Vaux and Olmstead were going for.
A green darner (I think) takes the sun. These insects too, migrate south for the winter, but their offspring will return instead in their place.
A common yellowthroat in one of the ponds in the Vale.
A white-throated sparrow seems to watch me just as intently, and agrees for a more "Autumn Themed" photo.
He gave me one shot.
An osprey, seemingly asking directions for South, too bad when I spotted him he was heading north-east. 
That look of being caught.
A handsome mallard watched with me a pair of red tail hawks over the lake, one of which was being harassed by a peregrine falcon.
An American coot squeaks along the lake.
     I am so happy that my dad showed us "the classics" growing up, Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, The Three-Stooges, and The Honeymooners - he was and still is a comedy guy... Anyway to see the "Sapsucker" episode, thankfully it's right here on youtube. It is the first scene, so you can watch as little or as much as you like-- maybe you too will get to see that bird with a yellow belly, sucking sap.