Sunday, April 10, 2016

Fort Greene Firsts

     First off, I want to explain to my father, who I know reads this, I promise, Dad, Fort Greene is pretty darn safe, in comparison to your Brooklyn living in the 80's.
     Now that the air is clear, I traveled by bike to Fort Greene Park today to seek out a reported yellow-throated warbler, not to be confused with the common yellowthroat. Being April, one would normally be excited to head outside on a sunny day, except for the fact I had to wear gloves on my bike, thermals under my clothing, and couldn't type into my phone because my hands were so iced! Spring, where you at?! Srsly.
     I do not know the park well and meandered my way up to the monument, where I found a group had formed, also looking for this warbler. In the end, I met some new folks, saw some familiar faces and we all used our eyes to call out when we had the bird in sight. I find birding to be such a wonderful way to socialize, I have made such great friends through doing this and always look forward to meeting new people while out in the field.
     Glad to say, the yellow throated warbler is officially ticked on my list!
A very light colored American Robin.
This one mourning dove caught my eye, the feathers on its shoulders were like gold leaf! Super metallic!
The dark-eyed juncos were super singers today- also singing were the house finches!
And here come some really cruddy photos of the Yellow-throated warbler! 
So this tree had 2 to 3 yellowbellied sapsuckers working some wells they created and the sap was flowing, quite generously. It drew in this guy, as well as juncos, kinglets, and house sparrows -- probably insects too, for the birds to also dine on! 
Here is one of the yellow-bellied sapsuckers, this park had a ton of sapsuckers in it, the most I have ever seen at once! And they were doing as their name states, they were sucking sap! Right in front of this bird, you can see a shine on the branch, that is sap. This bird drills into a tree, the tree reacts to this "wound" by secreting sap (just like how we would put that weird "second skin" product on minor cuts) to seal up the gash in its bark. This bird knows the tree does this and uses this to their advantage, giving them a super wonderful way to get some high energy food, that also draws in bugs. No greater delicacy than sap-dipped insects!
This one tree was leaking sap from various places, it glistened on its limbs with sap that flowed and attracted in many free-loaders, like the yellow-throated warbler.
The people who named birds, I get the feeling they weren't super creative. Most birds are named for the calls they make (like chickadees) or their general appearance, like the yellow-throated warbler. And then someone else also has a warbler with a yellow throat, and darn, that name was already taken, and so that's why this guy, name-wise, should not be confused with the Common Yellowthroat.
A yellow-bellied sapsucker (another creative point withdrawn from those responsible for naming birds) shows off some wonderful camouflage with some lichen-covered bark.
We know this one is a female, males have a red bib on their throat, females lack this feature.
A few of the birders and myself came to the consensus that the Yellow-throated warbler was maintaining a circuit, possibly visiting different sapsuckers, because they were everywhere! It ever 10-15 minutes flew into the same part of the tree, allowing me to see him 4 different times, just by standing stationary. He would then fly off, and we'd loose him, not really seeing where he went. On one flight I saw where he headed, and positioned myself a bit differently- which is how I got the following angles.
The photos are still pretty cruddy, but it gave me a bit closer of a look. He did not seem to mind the crowded area he was in, the only thing he seemed to mind were house sparrows. The house sparrows were absolute punks, chasing each other, the sapsuckers, and as soon as this guy landed, he was easy to pick on, as the house sparrows were fat and very much throw their weight (all few grams of them) around.

I saw him off to this plane tree, and from there he flew downward from the slope I was viewing him on, I'm sure only to make a few more rounds. Super glad I got to see this little beauty, super cool find to those who first spotted him and got the word out! Urban birding, for the win!