Sunday, March 13, 2016

March Madness

     As the temperatures are rising, the days grow longer, and you see the sightings from other folks- sometimes it can drive you mad. You have the urge to get out to see if you too can find those things, getting time in anyway you can. We all get a little bit of spring fever, the urge to be outside- but for viewing other species, it escalates a bit more than it should.
While Tim worked on our bikes, I sat on the stoop watching our avian neighbors. This mockingbird was eating berries from the ivy growing on the row house next door.
This male house sparrow was looking to spruce up his nest within a little old utility box on the house that we live in.
The same male house sparrow, floofed and chirping to other house sparrows nearby. 
Yesterday, after a full day of work, I made a pitstop on my drive home to Green-Wood Cemetery, where I had to explain to the guard why I had humpback whale baleen in my back seat and that I was just going throught real quick to look for woodcocks... which I did not find.
Instead of woodcocks, I saw my first Eastern phoebe of 2016, tons of common grackles, song sparrows, and my favorite introduced resident, the quaker parrots!
They were taking advantage of spring too, feeding on the new bugs coming in on the trees, waking up from their winter dormancy.
They fed in a small group in this small tree near the main gate, not too far from their massive nest.

I could watch these guys for hours, they are so acrobatic, yet clumsy and comical as they sometimes trip over their own toes.
This individual is missing part of toe on its left foot. Their feet are used not only to grip branches, but to grasp items to eat or explore/destroy. Their feet are well adapted, especially to satisfy the curious nature of these birds.
I got up at &am, but really 8am (we sprung ahead) and I thought, maybe if I got an early start I'd find a woodcock. Again, a big fat NO for woodcocks-- but woodchucks-- I saw quite a few on the run in different parts of the cemetery. This one I found near the Ft. Hamilton entrance, I took this from my car as he ran alongside the road in the grass.
His burrow was in this tree stump, I found another burrow right against a headstone in a different part of the cemetery. I bet these guys must drive the groundskeepers nuts-- but I enjoy seeing them.
Before he departed underground. You can tell he is freshly woken, he looked a bit scraggly and slim. I bet all he is doing is looking for yummy vegetation to eat as new buds come out of the ground.
     I hope you all -- whoever you all are that may actually read this, find some time to get out and begin your farewells to winter, and send your welcome to spring, coming our way next week!