Sunday, March 19, 2017

Ready for Your Closeup, Goshawk?

     I ventured into Prospect today to meet up with my friend, Jeffrey- hoping to help him score the Goshawk for his life list. This bird has become such a city park bird. He has become easy to spot as he has his preferred spaces to perch on the lake-facing side of Lookout Hill, he flies through the Lullwater into the Feeder area, and loops back to Lookout.
     With rather pleasant temperatures on this last day of winter and the snow from the last storm melting furiously, I was glad I felt up to going out. I was also happy to help Jeffrey get the NOGO because otherwise I would have felt bad to have had him come down this way for nothing. I am also happy that my hangover wore off fast enough that I could spend some time outside- woohoo! It's the little things, really.
     Bonus was 3 species of Merganser on the Lake today. Enjoy!
The bird was so darn far- but photographic evidence of one of the three mergansers on the lake today. This is a common merganser hen, then there was a red breasted merganser and a trio of hooded mergansers. I was happy to see her for addition to my year list-- currently up to 130 species for 2017.

One of the two snow geese- both well habituated to people, taking handouts (no bueno), and coming into its adult plumage.

The Northern Goshawk (NOGO) above the wellhouse, we watched while it preened, fluffed its feathers up, stretched its wings- he appeared quite comfortable.
Another birder was generous enough to leave a sign of where to look for the NOGO, a stick arrow pointed to its perch, providing the views (obviously zoomed in and cropped) below.

Off the path up to Lookout Hill with a harsh angle from the sun we were able to get some better, closer views of this Brooklyn rarity.

While Goshawks are not endangered- they are a prized bird to find- they are elusive and their numbers have declined quite a bit. This decline is mostly attributed to logging of mature forests- their preferred place to nest. I feel pretty lucky to be able to view this goshawk, fairly easily at that - I will very much relish any future run-ins with him, because who knows how long this guy/gal will stick around.

Looking up at this bird makes for some pretty comical angles-- ready for your close up, bird?


The goshawk is also noticeably large, setting it apart from the usual Cooper's hawk and the dainty, by comparison, sharp shinned hawk.

Goshawk comes from Old English for "Goose Hawk" these birds are good at going after other birds and used in falconry, still to this day. With their declining numbers, attaining a Gos for falconry is done through rigorous permitting and regulations. Cornell's All About Birds shares lots of other cool NOGO facts on their site.

Jeffrey pointed out this unfortunate critter- a raccoon with a bummed rear right leg. This guy is in bad shape-- and many would bug out seeing a raccoon out in the day time- this guy is not rabid but most likely starving and with an injury - will surely be up at any hour if there is an opportunity for food. This raccoon b-lined for a tree and began gobbling up acorns revealed below the melted snow.

At the feeders I saw my faves, fox spaorrows- I love these little chunkers! Even with the feeders low on food, the place was still a flutter with chickadees, red-winged blackbirds, grackles, titmouse, nuthatch, and goldfinch, among others.

Other sparrows at the feeders included this song sparrow and white-throated sparrows. This one got a nice prize, some seed!


A tiny fox sparrow tongue- I'm a sucker, this is crazy cute.
Also, next week I am going on a bird walk in Green-Wood Cemetery, led by Rob Jett- they look fun, access to the grounds before they open to the public: http://www.green-wood.com/event/birding-in-peace/2017-03-12/