Monday, September 11, 2017

Consolation Prize

     The worst part about loving birds, birding, and being outside is Twitter. Because you're sitting at work and there go the tweets (literal tweets)... clay-colored sparrow, lark sparrow- just chillin' all day, together in Green-Wood Cemetery not only yesterday but continuing today!
     Yesterday my sister and I rode our bikes 75 miles around NYC- so yesterday was a no-go. But today... oh man, oh man. I also today did my first day on a bike commuter/pollutant exposure study, so I had to zip home- make sure I wasn't breaching protocol and I got my stuff and ran back out the door.
    So with this study, I have to wear some stuff- a vest with some microPEM air monitors- and when you put on binoculars and the camera, you look pretty ridiculous.
     Anyway, I made it to Green-Wood, to the spot that I freakin' walked through SATURDAY when the lark sparrow was first seen and got to work snooping around...
So I arrived.. and the first thing I did was trip because I wasn't paying attention to where I was walking... I notice though a very pointy-winged thing... falcon? seems a little off for falcon...
NIGHTHAWK! (A common nighthawk, to be exact)

What a nice treat! I had been wanting to see these guys as they gather over Prospect's Neathermead in sometimes good numbers and I had yet to go. And I have been wanting to go- so it was awesome to see a few on this very short trip out.
I have pretty fond memories of seeing these guys during cross country practice at Bethpage State Park in High School on late afternoons in the fall. I remember seeing them and wondering what they were. I consulted the field guide in secret when I got home (ew, don't let other people in school know I do this-- nah, they totally knew. #nerd) and was amazed to discover what the heck a nighthawk was.

There were at least 5 soaring around above Green-Wood at the Sylvan water area. They were a nice consolation prize because I could not find the lark sparrow.

But. I did find this guy!
A clay-colored sparrow!

Stuck out pretty well from the many chipping sparrows and cowbirds around. Very beautiful in the late day sun. I have seen this species once before on my first Christmas bird count, but it was SO. FAR. AWAY. This bird was super not shy and beautiful. Glad I got to see it in such beautiful light.
--And now it's time for dinner and bed (before 8pm) as I will be monitoring Tribute in Light tonight for migrating birds. Wish me luck-- I am anything but a night owl!

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