Sunday, April 30, 2017

Finding Time to Bird

     Time lately has been tight with of course the obvious, work, but also traveling to D.C. last week for the March for Science, time to spend with family, and other adult responsibilities. So I snuck in some time last Friday after work, a failed attempt to bird yesterday after a 5k race, and then woke up early and birded all morning today- which was probably the best birding I have had in a while. I tallied 66 species (today) and added 21 species on to my year list (today), bringing my 2017 year up to 182 species of bird.
     My friend Jeffrey joined me, and was able to get a blue grosbeak as a life bird for himself-- and I finally (after two failed attempts) got it too as my first Brooklyn blue grosbeak. I birded from 6:30am and was glad to get in early and be done at 12:30 pm. I was thinking of going to Green-Wood buuuut feel pretty satisfied with taking the rest of the weekend off.
     Here are some pictures from Friday through today.... Enjoy!
Male redwing blackbird on dog beach in Prospect Park.

My FOY Monarch! Early, compared to last year!

A very fast moving bird sits still for a millisecond in the Ravine in Prospect.... a black and white warbler.

Went to Pelham Park in the Bronx after my "Run for the Wild" 5k at the Bronx Zoo on Saturday. Missed any owls, but found this clucking chipmunk and got a decent 5k time.... 27:40

While my twitter was exploding with awesome bird sightings all over NYC, I spent the afternoon with family. Got called to look in backyard, and a wild turkey- a year bird for me.

Not uncommon up in Rockland County -- the turkey is a typical yard bird.

Boasting no spurs, this one is a female... she pecked at the ground for any insects and seeds. I love how she steps with the tips of her toes first, makes her seem a bit more elegant than one expects a turkey to be.

But a look at her face reminds you of the fact that she has fairly similar DNA to that of a t-rex:

Another yard bird at my family's place, a levitating cardinal. Upstate cardinals do some weird things...

Prospect Park this morning (4/30/17) provided a great close-out to April.... Very thrushy, here is a Veery- one of the more modest thrushes, lacking spots on its breast with very soft tones. The robin is also in this family, the thrushes- there were plenty of them around.

A Swainson's Thrush - can tell by its buffy/yellow around its eyes and throat. Quite a few of these too! Also hermit thrush around-- all of them in the log piles outside Quaker Cemetery.

FINALLY - blue grosbeak! He has been holding down the fort in a small fenced off area by the tennis house marked as a "newly seeded area." And this bird is taking advantage of that!

I tried to see this guy two times in the last few days, third time is the charm, right? I really just think as per reports and my own experiences trying to see him, mornings are better.

So happy to see orioles back- we saw both Baltimore and Orchard Orioles. I love these birds not only because they fill the tree tops with a very melodic tune, but I love black and orange birds-- which is also why I love American redstarts and blackburnian warblers just as much.

Male wood duck on the small lily pond behind the waterfall at the Boathouse.

I heard this male wood duck's squeaky little voice as he called to the female below. He is also demonstrating why wood ducks are such odd ducks-- they perch and nest in trees. Perhaps he was checking our real estate in the ravine.

Our 5th thrush species of the day, wood thrush! Behind the upper pool foraging.

At the Maryland monument a runner stopped us and told us about the black-throated blue and yellow-rumped warblers she was seeing at eye level just on the path leading up the side of lookout hill-- since she seemed like she knew what she was talking about, we took her tip to heart and wandered up the path a little-- which got me this (crappy) shot of a hooded warbler. A nice bird to add to our list for the day.
Thanks, running lady!! :)

One of 3 Louisiana water thrushes we encountered. 2 in the ravine, this one on the peninsula.

A black throated blue warbler on the peninsula.

And we still have snow geese... not sure if these guys will ever leave as they have (unfortunately) become accustomed to people and their food handouts.

Started with a redwing blackbird, might as well end with one-- but a female, showing a little bit of red blush on her wrist.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Manhattan Birding

     After work today I headed into Manhattan to catch some birds that I need for my 2017 list and just because they are worth seeing while they are in town. My goals were to find the red headed woodpecker, red necked grebe, and a cattle egret in Midtown. Needless to say, I got them all!
     I was lucky enough to have some fantastic weather on my side and it made for a great afternoon/evening out!
The red headed woodpecker has been at this same area for quite some time now and has a gorgeous red head!

Found just off 68th Street and 5th Avenue, this bird was high up in the tree. You would honestly never notice it

Terrible photo, but he snagged a bumble bee.

It was pretty cool to watch this guy for a while.

An American Robin and some flowers. Spring.

Common Grackle.

The Reservoir provided really great looks at buffleheads-- very close to the sides to view. So I didn't let this opportunity go. 

You can also view the waterfowl from an elevated path, so you can practically look down on them, offering a view you don't often get. 
The closest look I have ever had at a gadwall. For a brown duck, they are gorgeous when you can catch all those details.

This red-necked grebe was a released bird from the Wild Bird Fund and has not left the place since being released. So I enjoyed some up close looks at this gorgeous bird.

Then I took the C train to Penn Station and walked to 28th Street to enjoy some good looks at this cattle egret who has called a small patch of green there, "home." This bird was busy catching fat flies that gathered in the sun in the grass.

The bird is also in breeding plumage, so it just looks so sharp.

With a fly in its beak.

The bird also flew towards myself and other observers to land in a nearby tree.

Closer inspection shows binocular vision, the better to capture flies with.

I was glad I took some time to venture out of Brooklyn today, my year list is now at 151!