Thursday, April 12, 2018

Birding my Brooklyn Backyards

     Today I spent my day birding, how else is one to spend their day off?? I walked to Prospect Park for my first half of the day, racking up 45 species and then later to Green-Wood Cemetery where I racked up less, as it got overcast and chilly. No complaints though, I spent most of my day outdoors!
     Let's check out the sights...
Wood duck on wood on one leg.

This is not at all an odd sight, wood ducks are a species of perching ducks. They perch! This male was one of 5 or so that I saw on the lake. I can't wait for little baby wood ducks later in the season.

Still a bunch of white-throated sparrows around, some with funny molts and many singing their "Oh, Sweet Can-a-da" or "Old Sam Pea-Bod-y" -- depends on your preference.

I have, starting this weekend perhaps the most challenging 6 weeks of my life ahead of me-- and all I want to know is what is this squirrel on and how can I get some. I need this kind of feeling in my bones.

I loved running into this juvenile Cooper's Hawk. This bird was super chill and just went about it's business.

I love that it uses its nictitating membrane as it preens. No one wants a feather in their eye. 

Super nice looking bird - I love raptors!

I am amused by their long skinny legs.

The most interesting bird in the world.
... So as I am enjoying this a guy and his dog walk behind me, pretty close-- not like they had an entire walkway, field, or open space to not get so close.
Anyway to dog barks repeatedly as it is right behind me. I give an out loud swear to the heavens above...

...the this amazing picture.

Hawk also jolts, because we have our eyes on each other.
Guy blames me for spooking his dog with the sound of my camera.


...and then hawk proceeds to peace out as do it.
Since when do... agh, forget it.

Today was the kind of day that eBird flags your phoebe count.
I liked this one because it kept saying it name, which is why it's called a phoebe. Anyway, it was adorable and the bird was sitting still, and so this.

One of my target birds, a Louisiana Water Thrush! With a little nibble.
Also found one rusty blackbird, singing its rusty song, and a laughing gull. 
Someone got lucky! This osprey was circling over the ravine with its catch.

Again, squirrels, share your secrets with me!

A dapper little swamp sparrow. Happy to see a few of these birds today.

This and another goose flew in with a purpose. They landed and chased off two other geese and then honked in victory. It's like its nesting season or something.

So I like hermit thrushes. I think they are pretty in a very subdued way. And I get them, they don't like being looked at, I don't either. But I always want to look at them and take their picture.
Hermit thrushes ALWAYS pose with one little thing in the way. A tiny twig, that one thick blade of grass,  of a dangler of a leaf. So finally a clear shot... no pretty dappled belly, but alright, I'll take it.

A strong female leader, I like her!

Then I went to Green-Wood Cemetery and there were hearts all over the ground, on the backs of every Northern flicker noggin.

So Northern Flickers, once they make eye contact, they are gone. So I savored this moment, because it isn't often you can stare and make eyes with a flicker.

I was really excited for that clear Hermit Thrush shot...

Wow, lucky day, another "close" up of a Northern Flicker. You can even see the yellow shafts of its feathers! In the Eastern United States, our Northern Flickers are "yellow Shafted." In the west they are "red shafted."

Always lovely to see the American Kestrels. This is one of two that I saw- the other also a male.

Hey, Robin, what's with the look?
You know everyone is all like, OMG, you're back! It's officially spring! And I'm like I've been here the whole time, why didn't you call or look for me?! Why do you only look for me in spring, am I just chopped liver the rest of the year???

While there were tons of robins (and phoebes) today, robins have been here all winter, just eating different things and hanging out in some other parts of Brooklyn, especially down by the coast in the marshes and such.

I'm a real sign of spring. Punk.

A palm warbler compliments the red buds on this tree its using as a place to hunt from.

I did get one decent hermit thrush shot in the end- at Prospect. This one was strolling in the short grass along the lake. There were lots of these birds today, just most were super good at remaining in the dense brush.

...And I'm off tomorrow too- any guesses to the days plans?