Tuesday, May 5, 2020

5/5/2020: Birdday or Birthday? Birdday.

     Today was my due date. I took the day off because I could and it was sunny and beautiful and it was a gamble of a day anyway. So I planned to either bird or birth. Looked like it leaned in favor of the birds. Plus walking is good, gravity is your friend, some say in these final moments.
     I racked up 62 species in a very peaceful morning in Green-Wood Cemetery. While I didn't see a prothonotary or Kentucky warbler, I was satisfied with the 15 species I did see. Again, I was simply grateful to be outside! Thank you, Green-wood Cemetery!
There is this ornamental, droopy tree on teh Sylvan water and it is always a hawking perch for Eastern Kingbirds.... and alas, an Eastern Kingbird! A chatty one, at that!

The slope of the Sylvan water was moving with birds, like this very sweet and soft looking warbling vireo.

It even warbled it vireo song!

Saw a few of these swet faces, field sparrows in a few different locations of the cemetery too.

Also saw, and photo'd a lot of these. Blurbs.
This one is a yellow-rumped warbler, of which there were a lot of.

Black-and-white warblers crept around a number of trees and bushes, searching for some bites to eat.

A common yellowthroat! Wearing masks before it was cool.

When you can see their pupils they seem... so... judgmental.

One thing about Northern rough-winged swallows is that they do perch quite a bit. So you can get a photo of them. I don't know why but I really like this one in the foreground adjusting itself as it perches on a fresh bud.

They are quite soft and cute in appearance, and those tiny little feets, they seen to not do much more than perch. These birds are built for life on the wing, for sure!

What a perfect little insect nabber! 
At the Dell Water this Solitary sandpiper (photo'd here) and a Northern Waterthrush were a nice surprise!

Practicing self-isolation so well, it's in its name!

One of my favorite warbler songs, the black-throated-green warbler was singing its cheery little tune in this tree above the Crescent water.

Bonus of seeing them in a small tree is that they were neck-breaking high up in a normal sized tree.

Another common warbler photo... the runner.
This American Redtsrat was sitting still and in the open and then dashed as soon as my finger hit the button.

I got a second, backlit, chance though.

A not rare bird, but rare moment. I looked at the belted kingfisher and it didn't fly off right away. For whatever reason, belted kingfisher do not like you to look at them. 

Very thrushy today and for whatever reason hermit thrush came up as rare which made me second guess a lot.

Black-throated-blue warbler lured me over with his song... oh, how I yearn for a "beer-beer-beer!"

Lovely to see them again! We'll have a beer together some other time.

Also saw a number of Veery today. But in order to feel good about my ID, I need to see their chest and look for the lack of spotting.

And then it turns around and covers up!
It was a veery, no spots.

Another bird that is lovely to see, even more so to hear, a wood thrush. I had one that spent a few days in an adjacent yard and it would sing its beautiful song each morning, it was a treat to wake up to.

The grey catbirds are here in full force!

Another Hermit Thursh.

Same hermit thrush, but in its own little natural spotlight.

Then I was thinking, how I haven't seen any orioles and then like nature heard me, it sent out a sweet song...

I recognized that Baltimore oriole song immediately and followed it, to this one male, singing as he fed among this flowering pin oak.

I headed over to my magic tree on the corner of Cypress and Vine. Below it were hermit thrush and oven bird, but 100 yards down from it, there is this giant bush which is a Yew. I heard a lot of birds near that Yew. And birds just came from it to fly into the oak across the path from it, one of those birds was this a blue-winged warbler!

This was a very nice surprise!
And then another bird I was hoping to see this spring, a rose breasted grosbeak appeared and fed on the flowers.

And then this Prairie Warbler appeared from the yew and into the oak tree.

And then a Northern Parula...
And then this Nashville warbler... and I even got looks at a Tennessee warbler as well. Black and white warblers, yellow-rumps, redstarts, all came out of this yew and flew into other trees nearby.
Every time I went to walk away a new bird flew out. Not too shabby and I was pretty impressed that I could rack up so many species on my own. Maybe I had some good baby vibes helping me out.

And that's it. The end.
So now the next question is... my next birding adventure will it still be just me, or will I be joined by a baby? 

Sunday, May 3, 2020

The Early Bird

     After getting a morning out this past week and feeling more like myself, I planned a way to get some outdoor time, remain socially distant, get my body moving, and beat the crowds. Thankfully I am very much a morning person. I was so excited to get out that I woke at 4am, listened to the rain and the dismay of the house sparrows that I suspect were roosting in a tree or bush and got poured upon. I knew the morning called for rain, and to be honest I welcomed it, It really would delay folks in getting outside. Tim also wanted to get out so I wanted to get him acquainted with a nearby park, we took to Canarsie Park. I walked some of the more natural areas while he went on a for a run (with a face covering). In one hour I racked up 30 species.
     After dropping Tim off at home (he has to work in the mornings on the weekends) I then headed to the Salt Marsh Nature Center in Marine Park and racked up 41 species in a little over an hour before the breakfast hunger pangs kicked in at full force.
     And again, I am so happy with my camera and how it performs, especially in low light. Yay!

I have only birded Canarsie Park in cold months. I suppose it's time to get to know this local patch a bit better because I need some walking options postpartum and this might be the place.

One song, familiar, that I haven't heard in some time rang out from nearly every place I explored.
"Sweet, Sweet, I'm so Sweet!"
Yellow warblers were everywhere, chasing one another.
And as they sang and flitted about, the rain came down, steady. But it was okay with me. It was fairly warm, nothing drenching and just something to extend the morning and keep the nature-phobic inside. 
My heart, I love Baltimore orioles and I saw about 6 or so in the park. They love the oaks right now, which are flowering. Orioles love nectar and fruits so if you have a flowering tree, look for orioles!

I love their bold colors, and these are certainly my first of 2020. I hope they will nest here so I can visit again and again.

Also, did I mention their song? It's very beautiful and flute-like. It's one of my favorites.

I noticed a lot fo trees with evidence of use by woodpeckers. In addition to this Northern Flicker, I also saw a downy woodpecker.

I love that catbirds are back. They are incredibly common but I greatly enjoy their attitude and fearlessness.
After dropping my husband back off at home, I got to the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center. It has been a very long time since I have visited. I was greeted by blue-headed vireos, American Goldfinches, catbirds, blue jays and robins upon entering. At the green bridge, I saw nothing, but then a greater yellowlegs made a loud entrance to claim its space in the exposed mud.

We hear you, pal.

Then it waded through the deeper water closer to the green bridge and showed off those long yellow legs.
I did have one bird I was really hoping to at the very least hear. And I heard two. The loud "CLACK-CLACK-CLAK-CLAK-CLAK!!" of the clapper rail.
Then while standing on a viewing platform over the marsh, I saw movement in the grass. I thought it to be a song sparrow or red-winged blackbird, but it was a clapper rail having itself a preen!

If it wasn't for that movement, I'd for sure have missed this bird. They blend in SO well. They creep under the grasses and I consider even this view a win, and the grasses are still so short!
While this bird did not vocalize, in viewing it, three others from three different directions and distances made their calls at one another. And still, I only saw this one.

They will breed here and their little babies, jet black, will, like baby chickens be on the move from the moment they are born. They will traverse the marsh with their parents.

These birds have long legs but even longer toes, to walk through the plants and mud with ease. They are so well adapted to this type of habitat.

I am so happy I got to see this bird today. They are easily in my top 10. If I were a bird, I'd be most like a clapper rail. Awkward, frantic, and talking way too loud.
Awesome to see one of the osprey pair on the nest. Looks like they are into gardening this year...
Also a nice view, an Easter towhee. The "Drink your tea" was ringing out in the area, as this bird and other males were singing in the area behind the basketball courts.

Catbirds "MEW-ing" and also singing a little of their melodious song.
A perfect grey catbird!

And then it was time to go...
But nature said, oh hell no, we got one more for ya...

A male ring-necked pheasant. I took a lot fo photos, here come a ton of glamour shots...

Just foraging along Avenue U, zero cares about being admired.
I know these birds can be seen at the Salt Marsh and at Floyd Bennett Field, but in my visits I have never seen a single one. And then today, where the park has cleared away a lot of brush and looks to be doing some restorative work of the habitat, here he is!
These pheasants were introduced for hunting and in our area, they are just around because (I don't think) any one can hunt in NYC. They are really freaking beautiful though!
These birds forage on seeds, plants, and insects. It looks to have some seeds it found. They run and walk mainly but will take flight - although they seem more suited to be on foot.
Oddly enough, this bird is foraging in purple deadnettle, an invasive plant from Europe and Asia. These Pheasants hail from Asia and parts of Europe, naturally. Maybe the deadnettle tastes like home?
The details on each feather really blow my mind. Feathers are damn amazing and can be so intricate in their detail.

Are you sick of him yet?

Yeah, I didn't think so.
So while I did not get the hordes of warblers that folks got in Prospect and Green-Wood, I am grateful to have gotten out, missed the crowds, and be graced by some birds that I really love. In a span of three hours or so, this early bird really lucked out and found things in their favor!
I'm looking forward to getting to know Canarsie park a bit better, especially with our baby that is due any moment now!