Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Blizzard? What Blizzard?

     Today I was given a snow day as NYC expected the worst from the snow we received last night. After dumping only about 4-6" I had a free day and had a few things I wished to accomplish. I wanted to bake cookies, and I did, peanut butter chocolate chip, without a recipe, which for me, is daring. Next I wanted to make and freeze some tomato sauce so we could have a few dinners of pasta in the coming month, I made 4+ dinners worth. Winning!
     The last thing I wanted to do today was get out for a hike, especially once the snow stopped. So by 1PM I layered up, 3 pairs of pants, 1 layer being thermals and the outer layer being snow pants. 4 layers up top, my awesome orange hat, gloves, scarf, and amazing heavy duty snow boots. I worked up a sweat, so I think I did well!
     The park was packed with children and their adults who all had the day off. I skipped past the crowds (well, not literally, I can't skip in so many layers) to see the park residents doing what they do best, surviving. In total I saw 27 bird species, many of which were at the feeder station. The birds looked so beautiful in the snow and I'm glad I got out to see them!

My walk to the park takes me along Fort Hamilton Parkway to the Circle. I pass below an overpass at E 8th Street, and I saw this pigeon and a tint wing next to it, and I heard baby bird "cheeps." This pigeon had 2 chicks, one in the nest behind her, and the little guy, peeking up in front of her. Baby pigeons are a little awkward looking, but I adore them! I also didn't know pigeons would nest and hatch out chicks in the midst of winter, but I suppose they eat well enough to support a family.
A Northern shoveler drake, knows he looks good. Those golden eyes are awesome. I personally might be biased, our family parrot has similar gold eyes, so I'm a bit of a sucker for other birds with similar traits.
This Northern shoveler hen has an itch that just has to be attended to. I love getting the view of what her bill looks like from underneath.
I have heard there was a Canadian goose with white markings that resemble eyebrows from a friend of mine. Well, look who made an appearance, and I do love those unique markings! I love seeing some interesting individuals among 'the usuals."
This drake and hen mallard appear to be amorous. And actually right now ducks are in full swing "sexy" mode. Males are showing off via various courtship display and males are in their flashy breeding plumage to win over females. Ducks are not as nice as they appear during courtship and mating, but this picture makes them appear so sweet, especially when you anthropomorphize- sometimes it's just hard not to!
A snowy Lookout Hill.
At the feeders that are stocked by the Brooklyn Bird Club a variety of bird in just a small space. In this photo alone there is a song sparrow, closest on the left, a dark eyed junco (in the middle with his floofy bum to us), a male (red) and female (olive) Northern cardinal, a fox sparrow (facing us, in front of the male cardinal), and white-throated sparrow (everything else).
I really like the fox sparrows, there were three at the feeders, and many were fairly close, feeding below the nearest feeder.
How do you know if your LBJ is a fox sparrow? Well, they are more of a reddish/rusty brown, they have grey on their faces and shoulders. They have markings on their breast, but they aren't necessarily streaky or forming a line.
A red breasted nuthatch and white breasted nuthatch on the same tree! Red breasted are much smaller, and as their name implies they have a red breast. They also, in addition to their black cap, have a black streak through their eye. 
The red breasted nuthatch was not shy and came over to the thistle feeder, which is closest to the fence that separate the viewing area from the feeder space.
Working out a seed with that funny little tweezer beak.
Blue jays being blue jays, I love that color though, but they are pains in the butt at the feeder, not just for each other, but other bird species. 
A white throated sparrow, easy to see the unoriginality in naming this species. Why not yellow browed sparrow?
A black capped chickadee eyes the feeders and looks to make a move.
The chickadee shares the thistle feeder with a female house finch.
A song sparrow, I find these guys to be a pain because they are so variable in their appearance. When you think you found a new sparrow species for yourself, you end up figuring out it's another song sparrow.
The Lullwater meets the Lake off "Pink Beach," which is currently white.
A resting red tail hawk on the side of Lookout Hill.
Saw my new friend on my way out. 
Enjoy the snow, be safe, and stay warm!

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