Monday, March 23, 2020

Harbingers of Spring and Happiness

     Tim and I spent a full week working from home and thankfully we have plenty to do but still, my legs needed stretching and I feared the local parks. I heard about crowds making the park appear like a day in July versus March and that 6ft was not always easy to maintain.
     So I am only opting for remote locations or cemeteries to walk and maybe see a bird or two. Yesterday I hit Green-Wood Cemetery. There were far more people in there than usual but nothing out of control. Thankfully, their strict rules on what you can/can't do there in the cemetery keep the crowds away.
     While I was really hoping to lock eyes with a timberdoodle, instead I found other birds that made me smile just as much. It stinks that this spring may be a big miss in birding during migration, but for now, I'll just embrace what I can.
Spring brings robins down from the trees. They spent the winter foraging on winter berries on trees and in bushes, right here in NY. They shift their diet back to insects and worms as the ground warms and this food becomes available again. SO robins re not a sign of spring - but their diet change is a sign of spring.

A little ray of sunshine? Yes.. but no -- it's a Pine Warbler! The warbler that tells you: ALL THE OTHER WARBLERS WILL BE HERE SOON! 
This one tree was full of 6 or more pine warblers, and they were all so brilliant and bright.

Also, serious bonus bird- the bringer of happiness, an Eastern Bluebird! I have only seen them at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn so this was a very welcome surprise!

These birds are closely related to robins, they are in the Thrush family!

This bird, appears to be female, the males are more bright in their hues.

She is beautiful none the less.

Also, tulip trees with the past remains of their flowers make for really great scenery.

The pine warblers were not socially distant, they would get really close as they foraged along the branches.

Hoe perfect are these little golden floofs?!

I have a feeling I'm being observed just as much as I'm observing them!

But I am far less interesting than potential food.
Despite being more chilly than I'd enjoy, the insects were still flying and the birds were busy hunting them.

Was delighted to see one of the whistle pigs enjoying some snacks.

For the whole winter there was one Eastern Phoebe, the there were two for some time. Then today they were everywhere, those two survivors are now among a crowd and impossible to pick out.

I don't care if there were hundreds of them around, I like them and their funny wheezy song.

A very floofy song sparrow, there were also quite a number of these birds out too. It gives a nice chance to see the large amount of variation in their hue. Some very bold, some more softer and faded. Song sparrows can vary quite a bit in their appearance.

One of the many resident mockingbirds, and yes, they are 100% judging us all.
I fear that I may not be able to do a whole lot of birding, just looking out for my health and the health of others. I hope spring bring some good visitors to our yard. We had a singing wood thrush for a number of days frequenting the yards behind and adjacent to ours, so I'll just hope for moments like that to occur.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

A week+ of birds.

    I'm anxious, I'm pregnant, I have a chronic cough (it's not the virus) that I just can't shake, there is a pandemic - so how do I escape? Birds. Here are birds. Migration is just starting, nothing is stopping nature from doing its things, I can feel somewhat relieved to be outside and not among the havoc (have you walked into a grocery just to do your regular shopping?! Ugh, what an awful mess).

And now. Birbs.

Friday, 3/16, Green-Wood Cemetery:
I really wanted to see a fox sparrow (and a woodcock), and I got a fox sparrow.
Trying to keep the year list growing as much as I can.
Each outing this week I added another year bird, today was fox sparrow.
I love these chonkers.

A male belted kingfisher in its usual spot on the Crescent Water, making all the noise.

A close (and cropped) white-throated sparrow. I saw some chipping sparrows too, but got no photos.

Monday, 3/9, Floyd Bennett Field:
Today's year bird to add on was wood ducks. There were many to be had. The Return-a-Gift pond was full of them. Actively calling and puffing up their heads, many males with two females.

They make a funny upward nasal whistle call. The averge human being probably expects ducks to quack, a-la mallard, but ducks make some funky noises depending on the species.

Wednesday, 3/11, Marine Park Salt Marsh:
I had a late start to my work so I walked at the Salt Marsh Nature center. This downy woodpecker was soaking up the sun.

Everyone was singing - and among the cardinals, the males were scuffling a bit too.

A song sparrow singing its song.

I love how they jump up onto a high branch to belt it out. It is one of my favorite signs of spring.

Another sign of spring, are the "ONK-a-REEE's" of the red-winged blackbird.

Three killdeer gathered on the field. The field was devoid of the trees that were sprouting taller each season so they are back to grassland.
Year birds added today were swamp sparrow and black-capped chickadee, a bird I've been seeing less and less each winter.
Friday, 3/13, Green-Wood Cemetery:
An Eastern Phoebe on the Sylvan water, a second bird remained all winter on the Dell water.
I love these little birds. We will see more as spring progresses!

I was on Battle Hill, the highest point in Brooklyn and was surprised to be so close to a black vulture, that was traveling with a second bird just overhead.
Todays year bird was fish crow.
Saturday, 3/14, Prospect Park:
There are far less American Coot out in the park, I'll miss these goth babies.

Speaking of goth, I was really hoping to run into a rusty blackbird.... and I did! This is today's year bird!

I also love looking at the face on, because...



This bird's population has declined steeply since the 1960's habitat loss has likely been a contributing factor toward this.

I really like these birds, I hope we can keep them around.

One sleepy downy woodpecker before calling it a morning.
Birds are great :)