Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Farewell PABU?

     I spent my day working from the zoo in Prospect Park and figured I'd walk to work and do some birding and check in on the Painted Bunting. The Painted Bunting has spent over a months time here in Brooklyn, 36 days, in fact. He was not reported seen yesterday, when temperatures plummeted to the coldest they have been yet this season and I saw no signs of him this morning as I walked and scanned all parts of the LeFrak roof, front plantings, and plantings along the back bridle trail.
     Perhaps the cold snap made him pack his bags and head to warmer climes? Or will he return? Who knows!
     I'm glad he was here for the Christmas Bird Count, brought awareness to the Park and it's amazing Ecology, gave so many opportunities for teachable moments- whether about the bird itself, or that the plants folks were trampling were more than just "weeds." Thanks, PABU for bringing awareness to urban ecology, urban wildlife, and the amazing things one can find in their own backyard!
     Here are my three encounters with the Bunting: First, Second (it's a blurry one), and Third.
     As for the rest of the morning, the rising sun brought a little warmth after a cold night as the birds gathered under its rays and soaked it in within the few unfrozen portions of the lake. Enjoy!
A crowd gathers on the little bit of available open water on the west bank of the lake. Swans, mallards, black duck, ruddy ducks, coots, shovelers, ring billed, and herring gulls swam, bathed, and fed amongst the controlled chaos.
A male shoveler keeps an eye out as others feed and preen.
A ring billed gull goes through his morning stretches as others seemingly snooze...


Sometimes you just have to get up and take on the world, even if it is 20 degrees outside. Stretch those wings, get up and out, who knew gulls could be so inspiring?!
It did make a huge difference whether or not you were in the sun. I found it to be very cold, but much more tolerable in those glowing orange rays. They also make everything look and feel so warm, despite the lack of feeling in your face.
Dapper dabblers, three mature male shovelers swim to join the swirling feeding taking place just in front of them
Like water on a duck's (err, goose's) back, it freezes when it drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Even the common house sparrow looks exotic when bathed in the light of the rising sun. In looking for the Bunting all I found were house sparrow, song sparrow, N. Cardinal, starling, and heard some distant red-bellied woodpeckers. I hope he fares well, wherever it is that he is going, hopefully he is on the right path and doesn't end up off course, again.