Friday, May 26, 2017

Earned Time

     At work it has been so crazy busy (which is really, a good thing) and when it gets that way, I end up working beyond my regular hours (and days of the week). I earned today, a day of freedom for myself to do whatever I wanted. I chose to bird.
     The weather was far more fairer than I had expected-- the sun shined instead of rain. I was planning today to go to Doodletown, but held off because of the rainy forecast. After waking up and seeing the sun, I thought to myself, wtf (f is totally for flock, let's keep this pg-13, at least). Although I was grateful for sleeping in (8am is sleeping in), now I needed alternate plans. It was way too beautiful out for errands and chores!
      While the world was alternate side parking, I took the car to Green-Wood Cemetery:
I began at the Dell Water, where I met two Empid flycatchers. And like 99.9% of Empid Flycatchers, I am having a crazy hard time Identifying and sought advice from others for help. They were not vocalizing or singing, so that made it harder.
So far it seems like this is likely an Eastern Wood-Pewee. 


This bird, looks to possibly be a least flycatcher.

These birds are notoriously hard to identify and some even have a sense of humor about it all... 

A female American redstart foraging in the same tree as the "maybe least flycatcher."

A black-crowned night heron on the lookout for naughty grackles who chased him to this perch.

I love their red eyes and how compact they can make themselves appear.

My favorite part of my visit to Green-Wood was meeting this Eastern Kingbird. The more I spend time observing them, the more I like them. So bold in marking and behavior, and beautiful too. In flight, their maneuvers in the air are those of skill and accuracy.

A red-wing blackbird was creeping near this guy, but that head tilt is crazy adorable.

This guy did everything, it sand, it called, it hawked down to the water, it perched, flared its tail and raised its dark crest. I appreciate chances to observe behavior, hunting down a hard to see rare bird is cool, put that sucker on your list... I would almost prefer to watch interesting behaviors and have an inside look into the life of a bird.


Despite that cute look, this bird is insect catching royalty.

I was very happy to spend some time observing this bird. It was very special to share a small moment together.
After Green-Wood, I headed back home, where my phone suddenly blacked out and went unresponsive. A quick trip to my phone repair guy  (yeah, I have one), and I was able to relax a bit and head out for low tide at Plumb Beach...
Semipalmated plover is not impressed.

A very gorgeous least sandpiper. 
I loved seeing the beach full of peeps, they made their little calls and ran from rock to rock or shell to shell, probing, eating, and foraging.
Last night I went to Plumb to monitor horseshoe crabs with NYC Audubon, and even at night, I saw at least 70-100 little silhouettes on the few sandy spots at a very high tide, we could hear oystercatchers in the night and today, with crabs all over the beach, it was no surprise to see so many sandpipers, plovers, and oystercatchers.


I actually had a high count of spotted sandpipers, which were in not just the marsh but also in the low tide of the bay itself.

This herring gull was busy trying to figure out how to get to the clam meat within the shells. Gulls up and down the beach were busy flying up to drop mollusks and feast on the meat within.

Off to make his first drop...

Pretty stoked to find a tagged crab, will be reporting him tonight. I look forward to finding out where he was tagged originally and possibly where he has been since!

The clapper rails were calling and then one did some walking around!

Clapper rails are often heard more so than seen. About the size of a chicken, they walk under the cover of the marsh grasses.


Not a great picture, but I have never gotten a sense of how big their feet truly are until looking from this angle!

Clapper rails if they are seen will dart from one patch of grass to another- a blue in the marsh, I felt pretty fortunate to get a long good look at this individual.

A lovely little blue heron, I love the color on these small herons.


A group of 9 short-billed dowitchers. The crabs' eggs I'm sure are a special treat for these birds too.
After this view, I decided to start heading back to my car, as rain came down at a steady pace on and off, and I figured it would be beat to keep the camera dry. And then...

Nelson's Sparrow!

These birds are a special sight as they migrate through to continue to where they nest.


Very secretive and often hiding in the grass, I was able to see a few, 3 to be exact. One was the same color as the grass- an adaptation, of course. This one though, showing that white belly was much easier to spot.