Sunday, April 26, 2015

Brooklyn Birding Weekend

     This weekend was jam packed full of things, baseball games, 5k runs, two birthdays, and fitting some birding in between it all- completely skipping out on any adult obligations like cleaning and laundry. Saturday took me into Prospect Park, where I met up with some fantastic birders who were equally wonderful company- nothing out of the ordinary was seen, but I was so happy to meet some great people and connect over something we are all passionate about. Today took me into Green-Wood Cemetery where I did some "speed birding." In 2 hours I walked from my home to 3 of the 4 water features and getting a fairly decent show that included a kestrel that nabbed a barn swallow on the wing like it was no big deal. Enjoy the weekend show:
Prospect Park had nothing out of the ordinary to show, palm warblers, like this one, were very abundant. I was very happy though, to finally meet up with some fellow birders. I often bird solo, but I also love meeting people because I do learn so much from others. Also, more eyes can allow you to find something that your own two may miss. It was nice to walk around with the two fantastic people I met today, I hope in the future that can happen more - Thanks, guys!
Aside from the abundant palm warblers, also very happy to see black-and-white warblers walking up and down the trees and their branches.
A modest female pine warbler. I saw a few female pines today, they threw me off- because you get so so used to seeing the males which are much more flashy in their more yellow colored bodies. The females are still very beautiful and you can tell they are pine warblers with those white wing bars and that white ring around the eye that connects to a line that goes across the eye.
A great egret finds some buddies to sit on a log with, a bunch of red-eared sliders.
I never get tired of egrets, every time I see one I will always try to get a nice shot... especially in flight, I'm obsessed.
Walked super fast today (Sunday) through Green-Wood. Originally thought this guy was a pine warbler, but then I noticed those streaks on the sides and that arc under the eye-- like the pine it also has white wing bars, but this is a prairie warbler!
A better look at seeing those wing bars. Like every warbler this guy was foraging, flitty, and fast, so I am happy to have gotten some half decent shots to remember this guy by.
I saw another prairie on my way back, but it was so close to the original location of this guy I was afraid to count more than 1 prairie for today. But one is better than none!
This ruby crowned kinglet appeared to be smelling the little flower buds of this tree on the crescent water. It was more likely just catching insects hiding along the branches under the buds and leaves.
He was much easier to hear than see, a brown thrasher, a relative of the mockingbird has some wonderful camouflage. He was (loudly) rustling through leaf litter along the trees on the Sylvan water. A very shy bird, by standing still it did move more to the edge of the shrubs, but never came out - such a very different "personality" than their boisterous mockingbird cousins.
It was also nice to see a Prothonotary in Green-Wood, cannot complain ever about seeing these guys! 
A handsome yellow-rumped warbler also in the same tree, hawking flies and gnats from the air. The males can be quite handsome, there are a lot of these warblers around and its always nice to see one that is particularly flashy.
The prothonotary warbler normally nests in swamps, in tree cavities- they are the only warbler that nests in tree cavities. They nest in the South Eastern United States but during migration sometimes show up in our area, they will most likely not stay around for too long before finding a suitable place to nest- you can see with this map their occurrences through the year, where they show up first in spring, and where they end up settling in for the summer before leaving in early fall.
So handsome with those contrasting violet flowers!
He came down from the original tree I saw him in to forage along the rocks that line the shore of Sylvan water, alongside a swamp sparrow.
You can never have too many shots of these guys! I also found out why they are called "Prothonotary," as it refers to a hood worn by Catholic notaries, apparently lots of early ornithologists in the US were Catholics, as we are all familiar with both Cardinals in Catholicism and the bird, both in red.
     If you are looking to get in an interesting birding experience-- or just to get into birding for the theist time, for this upcoming Migratory Bird Day, I will be leading one of the many walks at the Bronx Zoo's Birdathon on May 9th. The Birdathon is open to both advanced and novice birders, more information on registration and the event itself can be found here, hope to see you there!