Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snow Birds

     We had been cooped up for 24 hours, our apartment is throughly cleaned, animal enclosures spruced up, upcoming vacation mostly planned, and cabin fever running high. As soon as we woke up we walked to the empty grocery store, using a car after 24 inches of snow fell in 24 hours was not at the top of our list, so toting our goods home was our only option. After a yummy breakfast my husband and I got out for a walk to Prospect Park, around the lake and then homeward.
     We met when we attended SUNY Oswego for our undergrad, and our first date, that wasn't a frat party, was a trek through the snow at Rice Creek Field Station. So snowy walks with my husband are something I very much enjoy, and today was no different. I oddly still use the same winter coat, snow pants, and a hat he gave me for Christmas many years ago- all of which I used when we were in Oswego together. So today, I put down the binoculars and just picked up the camera, we trekked around, ran through snow drifts, and enjoyed the snowy scenes Prospect had to offer in the aftermath of this winter storm.
Enjoy the sights!
A few open water areas on the lake offer freshwater to gulls, geese, swans, ducks, and coots. 
I LOVE when I get to spy some lobed American coot feet! The coots were my favorites today.
A few icy droplets cling to the backs of the mute swans while the dip their long necks below the surface looking for any plants and algae growing underneath.
Those unique and adorable lobed feet not only are great for strolling around on land but great for swimming too!
In winter it is especially tempting to want to feed the birds, by all means necessary, avoid bread. Frozen veggies, seed, and cut up grapes are better choices if you must, but also remember to give the wildlife respect and distance. Feeding wildlife is very taboo as it has its pros, but also cons too.
Here is some more information on feeding birds:  http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/notes/BirdNote01_WinterFeeding.pdf 
It's hard not to anthropomorphize, I love this face! But in reality, I am hoping this little coot gets the proper nutrition he needs to survive the winter!

The feeders of course were fairly active with the regulars, N. cardinals, American goldfinch, house sparrow, white-throated sparrow, red-wing blackbird, white breasted nuthatch, downy woodpecker, mourning dove, titmice, and surprisingly no chickadee!
A little American goldfinch takes advantage of the empty feeder closest to us



We walked to the Lakeside center and found only this Northern Mockingbird in the area that overlooks the hockey rink.
Looking back toward Lookout Hill.
Oh, and I LOVE pigeons, so I was excited to get a nice headshot of this guy as we walked home along Fort Hamilton Parkway.