Friday, March 22, 2019


     In moving from mid-Brooklyn to the deep South of Brooklyn, my regular birding patches have changed. The Salt Marsh Nature Center and Floyd Bennett Field are my closest spots, with the Salt Marsh being the easiest to get to. So when the rain finally stopped today, I hopped on my bike and peddled to Marine Park and got to do some birding.
     This is the time of year where with each outing you hope to catch that next new bird, coming into the northern climes on its migration northward. But at the Salt Marsh there has been one bird who has just done a darn good job of avoiding me every visit I made there since December. I don't consider this bird a nemesis bird (that title belongs to the Lincoln's Sparrow), but this individual in particular, perhaps.
     I walked the trails, braved the cold gusty winds, and hoped to see something cool - whether it be a bird, a muskrat, or some interesting behaviors. I saw two of the three...
It's not everyday you find a red breasted merganser walking in the mud.
As diving ducks, their legs are set far back so they are a bit front heavy and walk a bit more upright than your average duck.

It also appears this bird may have once broken part of its lower mandible, giving it an appearance of having an overbite.

The osprey pair were busy today. Battling the gusty winds during the lowering tide for some muddy grasses to line their nest with.
I love how they even have shrubbery growing from their nest...

The one in the nest was doing a lot of the actual nesting. I feel that one may be the female.

This looks like an attempt to mate-- but it is really just an attempt to land, fighting the wind.
Especially because the one on the post, I think, is the male.
Even he looks a bit puzzled by this maneuver.

Literally threw my hands in the air, to celebrate seeing this duck.

Came into the marsh. It was not there.
Eurasian Wigeon.

Everytime I visit the Marsh- it is seen that same day. But never when I am present. So this was a happy sight.
Because as the weather warms, soon the wigeons will all be a winter memory.

Also, I like birds who have the same color plumage as me.


Stunning... as it eats up all that marshy, sludgy, deliciousness.

There were American Wigeon too...

But, I just couldn't avert my eyes and camera from this stunning hunk of marsh slime eating duck.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Vernal Equinox & World Sparrow Day

It's Spring! It's World Sparrow Day! How much better can it get?!
I visited last week, Green-Wood Cemetery, Dead Horse Bay, and today, The Salt Marsh at Marine Park and Floyd Bennett Field after work today. I got to enjoy some winter favorites before they go and welcome some early migrants.
Welcome back, little Golden-crowned Kinglet!
Fly catching last week on our 60+ degree day. 
A winter favorite that will soon fly up north... the Fox Sparrow. One of my favorite sparrows!

It was so warm last Friday, the Common Snapper at the Dell Water made it to the surface. I want to free its poor face of all those awful leeches! 

Another great sparrow, who sings a very sweet song- the white-throated sparrow.

Corvids do not like raptors.... A young red tail gets dive-bombed.

A raccoon that was either hung-over or sick. Found it laid out on the ground, making sure it wasn't dead, I clapped and woke it up and it sauntered off like a groggy mess.

A special bird, a common redpoll, who was hanging out among a flock of American Goldfinch.

It was very reliant upon the sweet gum seed pods.

A low Turkey Vulture over Dead Horse Bay last Saturday.

Today at the salt marsh.
Welcome back! Laughing Gull!

Welcome Back! Osprey!

Oh hai! 
Crows are NOT the welcome crew...

Oh, another great sparrow, an American Tree Sparrow!

Welcome back! Eastern Phoebe!
Welcome Back! American Oystercatcher!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Birding on International Women's Day 2019

     It's International Women's Day so doing what my female self does best (among many other things), I went Birding.
     I am so proud to be a woman working in a STEM Career field and in my work, being able to inspire and bring young women of diverse backgrounds, cultures, and more into contact with STEM career options. I am also so happy to know many women who as just being in the field of science make a huge difference for future young women, because if they can see it, they can envision themselves doing it too someday!
     Speaking of women and birding- I agreed to lead my first ever bird walk- it will be through the Feminist Bird Club in April, so be on the look out! We will be doing some cool citizen science and birding!
I visited Prospect Park today and spent the day birding. I miss being so close to this park - and now when I visit, it's a special treat!
This Dark-eyed junco was eyeing the seed selection on the ground at the feeders.

There were a lot of white-breasted nuthatches at the feeders, more than 5!

I love brown creepers!
This one was vocalizing it's little high pitched call and eyeing under each wrinkle in the bark.

Great chance to get a good brown creeper photo annnnnnnd STICK.
Stick happens.

Speaking of sticks, this was my favorite part of my whole walk. At the compost/wood chip piles...
Exploring every nook and cranny... the cute, adorable, and pocket sized winter wren.

The compost pile is decaying, therefore, warm and can contain so many tasty insects!

Winter wren are round with a little, bitty, barely a tail.
So round.

What is in here?!

What down here?!
Ah, I cannot contain myself over these little bitty birds. Everything about them makes my brain explode, from the cute to the many questions I have on how such a little thing can survive in some tough conditions!

A larger wren, a Carolina wren popped up to give the alarm when two red-tailed hawks began soaring over the area.

98% of my bird photos are pure crap. But sometimes there are crappy photos that make me happy.
Like birds exhibiting their ability to harness magic and levitate.

A modest mourning dove showing off the beautiful iridescence it has on its neck.

A Very Round Dove.

Birb proclaims:
... as it unsheathes its longer than a downy bill from the bark.

One of those photos where you really hoped the bird would be in focus...
Also hairy woodpecker, in fact the same one as above.

An odd sight on the lake, a long-tailed duck.
This bird was having no luck flying and it's legs seemed to not be super useful.
I was worried it would become gull food, as they swooped down at it, to size it up as a potential snack. Thankfully, it was too large for the ring-billed gulls.
Not much could be done- it was far out and on ice. Thankfully I was able to get a hold of the Urban Park Rangers who told me someone went and checked on the bird to find it had made its way into the water. That's really the best thing possible for the duck. Godspeed, little duck!

A motley crew of 1 hooded merganser and 3 ring-neck ducks.

One more for the road, a ring-neck duck, off the peninsula.