Friday, February 12, 2021

Great Backyard Bird Count, 2.12.21

     Today is the start of my FAVORITE 4-day weekend, the Great Backyard Bird Count! I decided to kick it off with a snowy visit with the kiddo at Prospect Park. We broke out the jogging stroller, with its big wheels and shocks, and took on some snow-covered paths to see some of our most familiar, yet favorite birds!

    It would have been impossible to traverse what we did with any regular stroller. Baby slept a good chunk of the time, enjoyed the bumpy snow covered paths, and waves at a hawk. I had prepared her quite well for our outing but in packing forgot my own gloves and my harness for my binoculars/camera. Thankfully I packed socks - that I was going to use as baby mittens because kids can't keep mittens on their hands to save their lives - and I wore them on my hands. I had an extra set of strapped binoculars handy and kept the camera in the stroller cargo bin. So despite that tiny hiccup, we fared well.

We began, naturally at the feeder station, it's always the most bang for your buck. Especially with the ground fully covered in snow, these feeders are hopping! 
Of course, most of the ground feeding birds included white-throated sparrows, like this one, but also a few dark-eyed junco, and even a fox sparrow.

Taking advantage of the suet feeder was this Carolina Wren. I don't recall seeing them here too much, but with the ground covered, its best bet for food and easy food is the feeder station.

A blue jay stuffs its beak and runs.

Also joining the ground feeders were a few song sparrows, this particular individual was quite beautiful.

By time we ambled on, the kiddo was snuggled up warm in he stroller cocoon. I was hoping she'd enjoy the ducks being so bound to the small open pockets of water and so close. These Northern Shovelers were among the usual others, Canada Geese, Mallards, and American Coots. 

The red tails were quite active, I watched this one go into a stoop just to land in the trees. It was joined by another, larger, red tail. Making this one look to be male and the other female.

It's about that time of year, when many raptors pair up, get their nest together and soon begin to raise the next generation.

Lock your cars up folks, this cardinal was quite adamant on breaking into a few cars...

Truly, it was likely attacking its reflection. It were only cars parked in a very specific area, next to his patch that he defends, furiously from other cardinals. Including the one he sees reflected in windows and side-view mirrors.

Much of our birding is done in short bursts, versus ambling along and looking at everything. Birding with a baby is a little give and take. She loves the ride, so periods of walking are important. We then walked from Breeze hill to the vale, a nice long walk, and then some nice bumpy snowy paths (some more snowy than I would have liked).
Upon arrival at the vale, we stopped in our tracks. This very low red-tail hawk, perched maybe 10 feet above the trail.

We enjoyed watching this bird for a bit, and then went in a different direction as not to distract it from whatever it was looking for.

It had soon caught a large mouse or small rat and ate it in the part of the Vale where someone leave out seed for the songbirds. So, Everyone gets to eat, because I'm sure the seed attracts food for the hawks too.
At this point, the kiddo was done being in the stroller, even a fast pace couldn't calm her down. So I pushed a crying baby out from the vale, back out to the main road, where I then carried her back to our point of origin whole dropping baby mittens, and retrieving them the whole way. Carrying a nearly 20 pound baby while pushing a stroller for a little around a 1/4 mile... not fun. But glad we got to see as much as we did.
Tomorrow I will be leading a walk for the Feminist Bird Club and Shirley Chisholm State Park and I look forward to that. I also look forward to having a scope (it's a GBBC miracle) for the second half of the weekend. I ordered it back on 12/23, so it has been long awaited as it was on back order.
Good things to look forward to.
Get out there folks and enjoy the birds!!!

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