This year I only got to participate for half of the day, on Saturday 12/19/15, but it was very well worthwhile and fun. Despite the fact that the world finally decided it would be a bit more wintry than it has been. Layers, gloves, hat and scarf were all necessary, as well as the hot cocoa break. I birded with a group in Northern Prospect Park and with a slow morning, the later morning and afternoon picked up as the sun helped to warm the place up a bit.
Highlights for my portion of the count included some botany 101 with our wonderful group leader and naturalist, Paul, a pair of golden-crowned kinglets, a rusty blackbird, a late hermit thrush, a very late ruby meadowhawk (that is a dragonfly, not something you see in December in New York), and some sassy sapsuckers.
The preliminary count can be found on the Prospect Sightings Blog, totaling 117 species, so far. I was fortunate enough to grab a few decent shots before leaving to gather with my family for a (very lovely) early holiday celebration, enjoy:
|This pair of Yellow-bellied sapsuckers were feeding on berries in the area of the park known as "the Vale."|
|The two began to squabble with one another, allowing this individual to fly down to a tree just a few feet away from us.|
|Isn't their plumage just perfect? They bend in so perfectly on the bark of the trees they cling to.|
|Moments later we found a few fox sparrows, the Vale was where we finally saw a good variety of birds.|
|Fox sparrows are one of my favorite, plump, large, and that gorgeous rusty color. They are not rare, but only show up come winter, then disappear by March.|