Saturday, October 26, 2019

Marsh Wren


     It was a beautiful morning, getting out to the salt marsh in the golden sunlight was perfect. Can you believe this is Brooklyn, New York City, this beautiful salt marsh? I also feel quite fortunate that this beautiful escape is just about a mile from my home.
     While Tim went out for his run, I went out to bird in the Marine Park Salt Marsh. It was another day full of small brown birds, like sparrows, but I had the fortunate chance to have a close encounter with a favorite little round bird of mine, the marsh wren.
Looks like someone has some molting to do!

It was such a special treat for this bird to come out from the thick of the phragmites into clear view, actively singing, being so round, and so cute.
These robotic sounding birds, soft and almost muffled is their song, in stark contrast to the loud, clear song of its cousin, the Carolina wren.

I mean, really, who is watching who?
Sometimes just being still, quiet, and maybe whispering a few "hello's" and reminding the bird of how cute it is, rewards you with some amazing, special looks at usually secretive birds.
I think they appreciate knowing how cute they are.
 Listen to the fun little sounds of the marsh wren (which I only saw one of), What I thought was a second bird was indeed a Nelson's Sparrow. Inf act there were TWO Nelson's Sparrows.
You can see how curious this wren was, it comes right out, and I filmed this on my phone, not digiscoped in any way. I actually found myself backing up so I could focus my camera on the bird who ended up being too close!

To not risk scaring this bird, I just shot through the grass. I have never seen a Nelson's Sparrow at this location, and I was rewarded with two. Glad I got a good look and chance to enjoy them because all three were soon flushed into the grasses by a runner on the trails.

In large numbers were palm warbler, foraging on the goldenrod growing in the fields that I am glad they were reluctant to mow down in the marsh. It is surely benefitting migrants and the raptors who frequent the area.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Nemesis No More!

     Most birders have a nemesis bird. A bird you want to find but it always evades you. You go where it was seen to no avail. You study it, learn its field marks and try to turn similar birds into it. You crave to see this bird, because somehow everyone else finds it with seemingly no problem. And they even get photos of it. The heck am I doing wrong?!
     Mine up until today was the Lincoln's Sparrow. Today I found a Lincoln's sparrow on my own, identified it on my own (with some confirmations of my ID by some good friends) AND THEN FOUND A SECOND ONE!
     It was a good morning in Green-Wood Cemetery.

I saw A LOT of chipping sparrows today.
But sorting through them all is what got me some birds that made me smile.

Foraging in the grasses and weeds in just as high of numbers as the chipping sparrows were ruby crowned kinglets.

This bird was first facing me, buffy chest and flanks. VERY fine streaking. Thin malar stripe.
My lifer Lincoln's Sparrow.
A bird that I have never been able to ID, spot, and forget photo, ever.
This was a very rewarding sight and moment.

Can you believe I used to try turning song sparrows into Lincoln's sparrows?!
To be fair, this is not a good example of a song sparrow that will make you look twice. This one is heavily smudgy and dark.

I never get upset to see a field sparrow.
Especially one that can choose a perch that compliments its color and tone.

According to the eBird filters, I counted too many of these.
I saw 4 blue-headed vireo's today.
And they were nice and low to enjoy!

Fall colors and fall birds.
Ruby Crowned Kinglet.

I'm still riding my high from that Lincoln's AND THEN I FOUND A SECOND BIRD.
Look at those field marks, how the hell was I turning other birds into this?!

And then it went on to do Lincoln's Sparrow things, like sit in grass, hide in the brush and under leaves.

I had an apple turnover from Baked in Brooklyn across 5th ave from the Cemetery in celebration. It was good.

This juvie Black-crowned night heron and myself, we both scared the crap out of each other.
I didn't realize it was in a tree I was under, watching a phoebe. And then with a loud woosh of its wings and a jump-launch into the air, I startled just as much as it had startled.
At the Dell Water, I sifted again through Chipping Sparrows.
And gave a scowl at the photographers using bright flash photography in broad daylight for birds.
Anyway, standing around did me good...

I was rewarded with a Nashville Warbler!

Birds are weird. What is its body doing?!

What a picture perfect little buddy!
Took a lot of patience and reject shots for this alright one.

The buckeyes I am seeing lately just look more and more worn. Hope you make it to your destination little pal.

I was looking at chipping sparrows flocking into the lower parts of this tree. Then I found a yellow-bellied sapsucker in a yellow-leaved tree stashing away a berry on a mossy limb that perfectly matches the coloration and patterns on its back.

Also, lots of palm warblers. Has anyone else ever noticed how the bottoms of their feets are yellow?! How cute!

A chipping sparrow was foraging on the ground not too far from me. Scanned over a bit and found this little field sparrow foraging right next to it.
Quite possibly the cutest sparrow, I believe I have even seen "cute" used in books and field guides to describe this bird.
I mean, they are not wrong.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Sparrow Season

     I was noticing my photos were not coming out super sharp, so I took my camera and lens in for a cleaning and whew, it made a lovely difference!
     The sparrows are out in full force and taking a closer look at that little brown buddy can reveal a heck of a lot. I took a quick trip into Floyd Bennett Field Friday before celebrating the 3rd year of the Feminist Bird Club's existence and then I joined a Feminist Bird Club walk on Saturday, led by the AMAZING Akilah!
     Good birds, good people, there isn't too much more I ask for in life!
Savannah sparrows are ever present in grassy, open areas. They are so sharp looking, I love their pink bills and yellow faces.

Also plentiful and possibly arriving in these parts to over-winter, yellow-rumped warblers.
These butter butts survive here over winter as they switch from an insectivorous diet to one of berries, able to survive the winter on those winter fruits.

A round little chap, a swamp sparrow!
At Shirley Chisholm State Park, a very new state park, that was once the Pennsylvania Avenue Landfill, it's amazing the life thriving there.
I recall as a kid, driving with my mom to visit her Brooklyn family, and we'd all make the yucky face as we drove by and got a whiff of the landfill that remained as such well into the mid-90's.
The landfill was capped in the early 2000's and covered in soil.
Now it acts as a habitat that is a rare sight in New York, grassland. Grasslands are disappearing and are ph so important for many local species for breeding, hunting, and migration.

Activing fishing the waterways, this is one of a pair of belted kingfishers.

A nice surprise, a juvenile white-crowned sparrow, spotted briefly.

Another nice surprise was this (one of two) greater yellow-legs and 21 semipalmated plovers, just resting next to the Penn Pier area.

Also off of Penn Pier, one can enjoy fishing. Both bird and humans were busy fishing off the pier.

I do love me a photogenic double-crested cormorant in a fall's golden morning light.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Brooklyn Social Birding

     I needed today. It was so refreshing to go birding with people. I never realize how much stamina I have when friends are around to want to see more. We also see a lot more and working together to ID a bird is so much more fun and less frustrating with others. I also learn a ton from them.
     Work, getting projects done in our home, and life has been taxing on time so it was very therapeutic to see folks I have not seen in some time and to look at birds together. Friends and Birds is the stuff that makes me happy.
     Today we hit up Calvert Vaux, Plumb Beach, and Floyd Bennett Field:
At Plumb we saw both Nelson's (here) and Saltmarsh Sparrows.

I love these little birds, their bright ochre yellow really makes them quite handsome and a standout from many of the other local sparrows.

They also have little round bellies, and that is very cute.

These sparrows are always a fall treat. Forget pumpkin spice, give me cute sparrows!

Bonus bird, we were treated to a marsh wren split.

Bonus blurd, a marbled godwit flew in as we were leaving.
My camera needs a cleaning quite badly. So focusing was... special.
Hopefully we will fix that next week.

A very good Eastern Phoebe at Floyd Bennett Field.
It's whisker game is on point.
It's ability to find backdrops of fall hues is perfection.

I hope you catch many flies and yummy things.