Monday, January 16, 2017

Waterfowl etc.

     Yesterday and today I birded 3 locations in Brooklyn. Yesterday I went from Floyd Bennett Field to the Salt Marsh in Marine Park, and today I kept it quick with Prospect. I enjoyed all of my visits, at each one seeing birds that I throughly enjoyed observing with a few good surprises too.
     I needed this weekend, the last few weekends have been kind of cruddy for going out in and I saw birds I very much enjoyed observing, whether rare or common sights.
     I hope you enjoy seeing them too...
I first traveled yesterday (1.15.17) to Floyd Bennett Field in hopes of seeing horned Larks. Was happy to find a nice size group of larkss on the edge of the cricket field foraging in the open grassy areas.
Horned larks have feathers on their head that when puffed up, resemble horns.
These bird could be easy to miss- they are the same color as the ground and they don't fly to get from one nearby patch to another- they run!
On the ground, they forage together for seeds and insects.
From back and side, they are easy to miss, but some of them really had some gorgeous gold chests when they looked your way. These birds foraged pretty confidently, when while a red tail hawk circled over the field. They didn't budge from their very open foraging space.
My next stop was the Salt Marsh at Marine Park, where I met my friends Molly and Corey. We walked along the less traveled West side to enjoy a lot of waterfowl and gulls. Many of the ring-billed gulls were bathing in the shallows.
Other ring-billed gulls took it a bit more easy.
Upon entering the trails, a very not shy N. Mockingbird just watched us from its very close perch.
Not even a flinch as we all stared at him.

A nice surprise, a hunting Northern Harrier over the opposite side of the marsh.
This was a nice surprise, the drake Eurasian Wigeon, among American Wigeons.
We saw quite a bit of waterfowl besides him, including ruddy ducks, lesser scaup, red-breasted merganser, brant, Canada goose, American wigeon, Northern shoveler, mallard, American black duck, gadwall, bufflehead, and pied billed grebe.
I went to Prospect today, keeping my focus near the lake and water features of the park. Much of the lake was frozen over, so the small open pockets were packed with birds, including this male American wigeon (with a female in tow). I LOVE getting a close look at those feathers- the ones covering their wings and flanks are mesmerizing- the detail knocks me out!
Also, those chunky cheeks! I might not enjoy winter, climatically speaking, but I love the ducks that come with it.
Oh natural selection, you amaze me.
Caught some downy woodpecker tongue. Woodpeckers have AMAZING tongues that are used in helping them procure their meal- whether it be insects or sap. Many species possess fairly long tongues and where they keep all that tongue might blow your mind and helps them not lose their while drilling - check out this article that explains what I mean.
The upper pool was filled mainly with Canada geese, but 7 wood ducks were clumped on the shores of the island in the middle of the pond. Here are 5 of them... a mallard swims past - but a good point of reference for how these bird differ, drastically.
One of the males chased the lower male and a hen off the rock, looks like he wants to secure his place in this duck harem.
I was hoping to see the continuing juvenile snow geese and I'm glad I peered across the lake with my binoculars before leaving, because I almost missed them.
Last I saw them, they were sleepy and fairly in active. This time these guys were not the least bit shy, walking close to the path near Three Sisters and grazing on the grasses (evidence is on the beak).
They are now just like all the other geese on the lake, they get close, don't seem super fearful and let folks put their iPhones in an impolite close range to snap an instagram or snapchat message. 
I might have taken a lot of photos myself... but I had my obnoxious lens on, that let me give them some space to walk and graze.
 


I might have taken a few head shots for reference, I have been trying to do more drawing and I try to use my own photos for reference, so perhaps there will be a snow goose sketch in my future.