Thursday, March 16, 2017

A (Very) Successful Post-work Walk

     The sun came out and with snow and sheets of ice still coving the ground I headed to Prospect Park to witness the big reveal of woodcocks. Woodcock are cryptically colored bird that hunker down under brush and blend in with leaves, pine needles, bushes, twigs. But with snow, the woodcocks are easy to spot and many of them gather by areas to feed- or perhaps to stay safe (because they are also easy for predators to spot).
     A bonus was to finally see the Northern Goshawk hanging out in the park a number of times. The bird gathered in spaces to feed and drink, making for easy spotting, less trudging, and a decent list of species in a short period of time.
     Enjoy the sights!
 A far off landing -but a photo to show for my lifer Northern Goshawk!!

Unlike a Cooper's hawk, the spots on the chest run down further than they would on a coop. This was a real treat. I saw it moments before this shot- but it flew and circled over a few of us at the feeders. He flies so fast and is like a stealth fighter jet- because he comes out of nowhere it seems.

Over by the water near the Neathermead Arches I found 5 woodcock. Originally 3 were probing and foraging in some exposed patches. Later two other practically fell in from the sky, rather clumsily.

They are so easy to spot and trying so hard to find food as many are just migrating in to the area and then got blasted with this storm. It's really taking a toll on them.

None the less, I was very happy to see many of these guys in one place.


And my one of my favorite aspects of the woodcock-- that strut! They walk this way to get worms underfoot moving- by placing their weight on the front foot, they can coax worms to where they can better reach them. Enjoy my shaky video of that ridiculous strut:

A gorgeous female cardinal in the early evening sun.

Many fox sparrow available to observe near the feeders. I saw the Goshawk here again, as it seems to nearly saw right past our heads.

Cardinal life hack.

Saw the goshawk a 4th time- where it also chased away a merlin and again perched on the like-facing side of lookout hill.

A red-tail hawk before heading home- showing some bloody talons and...

A dirty beak-- evidence that someone enjoyed a meal-- with feathers stuck to feet and beak, my guess is woodcock.