Friday, March 6, 2015

Winter's Final Hurrah?

     Let's be real, this winter stinks. In my world, honestly, every winter stinks - I'm more reptilian than mammalian and tend to function better in warmer temperatures. Just when you think we had enough snow, this week ended with around 4-5 inches. I'm really hoping that this is it, and I bet the wildlife is hoping that too.
     I took a morning walk on Tuesday at the Marine Park salt marsh, which happened to coincidentally be World Wildlife Day. I had the pleasure of viewing a red shouldered hawk, a pintail duck, and American wigeon. I also, unfortunately witnessed a lot of waterfowl that perished in the rough winter we have had. I am sad to see wildlife die, but the wild isn't all cupcakes, rainbows, and butterflies.
The rising sun warms the world and this little mockingbird, who is eating sumac berries for breakfast.
An American wigeon drake swims in what seems like a puddle of water that is the only open water on the salt marsh. 
 ...Then by Wednesday evening it began to snow... all the way through Thursday...

Window birding from the warmth of my apartment.
     After the snow passed, and with a day off from work, I decided a walk in Prospect was needed. While I loathe winter, I still find it beautiful and this might be my last weekend to enjoy the fresh snow. I actually hope its the last weekend I have to ever enjoy fresh snow until next winter.
This Northern Shoveler also appears to be done with winter.
Even the everyday mallard can be a stunner. Love the blue hiding in his wing.
The snow we got was light and fluffy, the trees are covered. Evergreens are drooping from the weight. Anyway, it makes me crave roasted marshmallows.
Black capped chickadee.
This robin wants to remind you that he's been here the whole time. He is not a sign of spring. But signs of spring can be heard throughout the park. I was really really happy to hear a whole mess of red wing blackbirds belting out their "HONK-A-REE!" It's one of my favorite sounds that signals spring for our area.
I decided to walk over to the boathouse, and was excited to see from the bridge that the two other common mergansers were hanging out in the small pool of water there. When I got over to the side they were on I was upset to see that this drake has a fishing hook and attached line snagged on the right side of his breast. 
Mergansers are divers, they dive to catch their food, fish. We use hooks and lines to catch our fish. It's a shame that when not discarded properly, these hooks and lines catch more than just fish. This merganser was reported to folks who work in the park and look out for the wildlife in it. Unfortunately birds fly, and this one in particular can dive. I've had to catch diving ducks in my zookeeper days, and it's not an easy task. I hope this dude can get helped, it pains me to see animals that are injured, especially injured from our misdoings. In New York, you can recycle monofilament fishing line, check it out. 
The drake could still hold his own, hopefully he can manage just fine until he can be helped.

After the merganser ordeal, I decided to start making my way home, but to first stop by where I began, the picnic tables on Wellhouse Drive. A few house finches and American goldfinches were feeding in the birch trees.
And then, there it was, a Common Redpoll. A life bird for me, and here it is, right in Prospect Park! These birds have had an irruptive year, making their way down a bit more south than usual, in larger numbers.
Also a finch, like the other birds in the same tree and trees around it. These birds eat various types of seeds, the seeds this one is after are those of a birch tree.


Very happy to have encountered this bird in Brooklyn!
And just before leaving, an American Tree sparrow hones its sight perfectly on it's prey of a birch catkin. Yeah, I just learned what a catkin is too.
     Enjoy the (hopefully) last of the snow and begin to celebrate spring, it's almost here!