Sunday, October 2, 2016

Three Cheers for Three Years!

     Three years ago, at this very time, I don't know where I was or what was being done to me as just 2 hours before then, I was riding my bike before getting doored and knocked into the street and off my bike. I don't know who called for help, or who to thank for helping to get me what I needed, but some time after, like a day or so, I recalled waking up in Kings County Hospital, and oddly needing to pee.
     I was released 3 or 4 days later- I can't recall, with a fractured skull (and staples in my head!), a fractured (a very compound one at that) left clavicle, brain contusions (made memory really rough and headaches really hurty), and lung contusions (they were hurty when you needed to breathe- like um, always). I was out of work for 2 months, mostly stuck in my home on a couch, with friends and family who stuck around to take care of me as well as a parrot and cat that were my top snuggle buddies.
     It all was a very eye-opening experience that made me realize how important it is to take care of myself. And that included making sure I do what makes me happy when I can, like going outdoors and exploring. My outdoor adventures were part of my rehab, first I sat on my (sad excuse for a) outdoor terrace and watched sparrows, jays, and pigeons in the yard, then as time went on, the doctors told me to go for walks (it helps my brain, and confidence), short ones at first. So I began by walking to a nearby green space and watching pigeons, and eventually I was able to make a walk to Prospect on my own, and it felt like freedom from those stupid injuries I endured.
     I am so thankful to be in great health and to be able to do what I do. And I am so happy that I am able to continue doing the things I love, all thanks to a helmet that sat on my noggin and despite the injuries, prevented option b, for a serious cycling accident.
     So after a weekend away, I found some time to find life in a place that I am not stuck in from 3 years ago, I birded Green-Wood Cemetery, quite happily - Enjoy!
A woodchuck in the dell water, where the water has dried up. The missing hair and lesions make me think this guy must have some mange, caused by mites.
An Eastern phoebe that I promise is sitting on a branch in October, not February. It looks too wintry, I'm not ready for winter!
A squirrel fattens up on the bounty of fallen nuts from the massive trees around Green-Wood.
A few red-eyes vireos were actively feeding on this little shrub. 
What most of my warblers photos look like. This blurd is a palm warbler.
I was very excited to have some cooperative Northern Flickers (and my long lens) to get some decent photos of these showy woodpeckers.
Unlike your typical woodpecker, these guys forage and feed on the ground, so they are commonly flying from the grass, seeking shelter and nesting cavities in the trees. When they fly, our flickers are "yellow shafted," their wings are yellow underneath. In the west they are "red shafted," and red under their wings.
A tree sporting some serious berries was filled with robins, gorging on the fruit. But if you sifted through the robins, you found a few interlopers, like this red-eyed vireo.
Robins adjust their diet with the seasons, for the winter, berries and other winter fruits will be the major portion of their diet. They don't migrate south, they just migrate to where the best food is in our areas. So they ditch your lawn and the worms that are hard to get when the ground freezes and find better, accessible foods in trees and shrubs.
I am really stoked to share this little guide made by a fellow birder, it really makes fall warblers a bit easier to understand and identify. I have fallen prey to the confusing fall warblers and this little guide is user friendly and helped me get some positive ID's, like this chestnut-sided warbler! He did a really great job, check it out- someone took his helpful tweets and storified it!
Palm warblers were all around in open grassy areas, darting between headstones.
The look you make when you regret your choice in landing location. This heron was flushed when a couple walked past him and he flew right at me, landing like 20 feet away and just had a stare down.
I was hoping to let him settle down and do his thing, I went to sit (conveniently on a mausoleum bench), and as soon as my body moved, he was like, "SEE YA!."
A merlin watching over the Sylvan water, it's pretty common to see kestrels here, but a merlin was a nice treat!
Again, I used Jason's tips for fall warblers and am calling this guy a blackpoll, fine white wing bars, streaky on its back with light colored feet.