We usually don't think much of arthropods except perhaps mainly as nuisances, let's be real, I HATE roaches - but without arthropods, this place would fall apart. Filling so many niches and being such an important part of the food web they serve a heck of a lot of purposes; from small pollination gigs to filling in the local keystone species role arthropods are pretty amazing.
This morning there was a report of a hatchout in Prospect Park, this is when the termites take their nuptial flight- they disperse, breed and begin a new colony on a prime piece of real estate, a fallen log. This brings birds in for the all you can eat buffet- this is an important meal for birds who wish to continue northward in their migration. A high protein, high energy meal was erupting from Lookout Hill and the swifts and swallows flying and diving above it were a sure sign something delicious was happening...
|Magnolia warblers were everywhere- but in general, birds were brought down from the trees to catch flighted termites rising from their birth site.|
|Lovely to have this black-throated-blue warbler entirely too close for photos, I had to step a few feet back!|
|In flight, that little white hankie on their primaries turns into more of a scarf- such a large flash of white when flying!|
|And then he asked for some "beeeer, beeeer, BEEEER, BEEEEER!" (that what he sounds like...)|
|A super sweet surprise was this low bay-breasted warbler. Such a beautiful merlot-colored bird.|
|An interesting view of a chestnut-sided warbler.|
|Normally up high in the canopy- this black-throated green warbler feasted just a foot and a half off the ground.|
|Also, when it comes to photo shoots- it's not this birds first rodeo...|
|This bird was super cooperative and a real treat to observe.|
|It also had its eyes on many prizes, taking off in small hops so that no insect could escape its beak.|
|A moment that feels like far longer in photos, this was such a wonderful 15 seconds observing this bird on this tiny plant.|
|The bay-breasted warbler wasn't done- another flew onto the small trees growing up out of Butterfly Meadow- super close, giving superb looks.|
|What a treat!|
|Northern Parulas were practically falling off of trees...|
|I also saw a lot of Canada Warblers. They are one of my faves, I love those spectacles and that dainty necklace- but... THEY. ALWAYS. LAND. BEHIND. LEAVES. or their photos come out blurry... until.|
|This was the best part- right before leaving, I got a few clear views of a Canada who just came out of a scuffle with another Canada warbler.|
How stunning is this animal?! After a long (really long) and cold (also, really cold) winter, these little birds really brighten up our local habitats.
|Thanks for making my day, lil guy!|
|And one last look at those super cooperative Bay-breasted warblers...|
Tonight (as long as the weather cooperates) I am off to take part in monitoring an arthropod that helps many local and migrating shorebirds survive, the horseshoe crab. It's a new moon and as long as the thunderstorms stop by 8pm, we'll be counting and maybe tagging! I look forward to doing this with NYC Audubon every single year!