Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Great Backyard Bird Count 2017 - Bk to Bx

     It's a birding holiday weekend- the Great Backyard Bird Count from 2.17.17-2.20.17 is a really good excuse to get outside and citizen science! I encourage everyone to get out an see some birds and then submit your findings to eBird.
     With a normal day of work on Friday and half a lunch break, I instead took my lunch break at the end of the day and went to do some beach birding with some coworkers. We mainly saw gulls but also spotted some common loons, a red-breasted merganser, among the very many gulls.
     Today, a bunch of us got out to the Bronx and toured Pelham Bay Park. We had some special sights and totaled over 30 species of bird, a really decent afternoon out! Many thanks to my friend Jeffrey- who knows the park well and was able to show off his knowledge of the area.
     Also, I got to sport my new Feminist Bird Club Patch for 2017. My coworker and friend, Molly put the patch together, I just gave her a Black Skimmer design. You can get one too, proceeds from the patch go toward a choice charity/foundation that benefits women.
     Anyway- in two days I have had a wonderful time outdoors, and there are still two more days to go-- get out there and see some birds!
After work in Coney Island, we started with our resident mourning doves that live outside our office. This one was cooing his song in the later afternoon.

A herring gull atop one of the buildings at the Aquarium.

A herring gull on the beach- soon, with spring approaching, the gull populations will change as many ring-billed gulls head north and laughing gulls come in for the summer.

A ring-billed gull walks along the shoreline.

A great black-backed gull, surrounded by smaller herring gulls.

It's kind of cool that great black-backed gulls are the biggest gulls in the world, and they live here, in NY!

A female red-breasted merganser diving and swimming along the fishing pier in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

We were welcomed into the lot at Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx by turkey vultures and caught this one later on, soaring low over us.

A very special sight-- look close...

A great horned owl peers out at us from her nest. Please note that these photos are taken at 500mm zoom, and then the picture is VERY MUCH cropped. We observed this from a path ensuring a very respectful distance and also a respectful viewing- we left after a few minutes to continue birding.

White-breasted nuthatches were among a few other smaller passerines in the tangles of shrubs among some deciduous trees.

After happening upon this nuthatch and a Brown Creeper- we also found a red-shouldered hawk, being flushed and dive-bombed by blue jays, it was a very nice bird to see for the day.

A yellow-bellied sapsucker-- this is a good sapsucker tree- note the line of wells drilled, just to the right of this birds head on the tree trunk.

I like that I happened to get a little action shot of this guy making his ay up the tree.

Superb camouflage!

A white-throated sparrow.


A great blue heron as we are leaving helped us tack on another species.

And then a close look at some sparrows gives us a tally for another species, a group of American Tree Sparrows.