Sunday, April 25, 2021

Earth Week Birds

     Bird FOMO is real and I try not to let it get to me. But sometimes its hard. So I just do my best and bird when I can without letting it ruin my life. I made a few trip to Prospect Park this week as well as the Salt Marsh Nature Center at Marine Park. I got to also bird with with friends on some occasions and that makes outing twice as nice.

    It was Earth Week and on Earth Day I even did a little walk with Kestrel before work and daycare, she is my absolute favorite little adventure pal. I hope she continues to keep enjoying the outdoors, it can and often does put her in a really good mood, or a really good nap.

    Here are some birds from the week, hope everyone had a happy Earth Day!

In Marine Park, I met up with my friend, Shinara and took her on her very first visit to the Salt Marsh. I was unaware this was her first time, so I was really hoping something cool would happen to make her first visit a memorable one.
Upon first meeting up, we watched a cormorant, great & snowy egret, and greater scaup feeding frenzy. So already we were starting off real well.

The tide was dropping, exposing the mud and attracting in greater yellowlegs. We saw 6 in total.

Checking n on the closer Osprey platform, there were sticks, plus Osprey bringing food to the nest. Doesn't seem like there are eggs. But the bunker are definitely the catch of the day around these parts.

It would be wonderful if a second nest got started. The original and active platform, with the Osprey affectionately named Ralph and Alice (the Honeymooners) by the dedicated volunteers, it appears that the birds are sitting on eggs. I think the volunteers named this couple George and Gracie (Burns & Allen), but I had a harder time memorizing their names.

I showed Shinara the Path that runs alongside the Golf Course and the water. We were getting a look at some boat-tailed grackles and then I broke all my covid rules, grabbed her by the sleeve in excitement and pointed at the fella crossing right in front of us. A ring-necked pheasant. We ended up seeing 2 males and one female over here.
This one's tail looks to have been broken off somehow, looks nothing like a molt but more like predation or a run in with humans, would they be so dumb to get close to a lawn mower or weed whacker, thinking about the golf course and its highly manicured grounds.

I also visited Prospect Park about 3 different times last week, attempting to get a glimpse of the Prothonotary warbler. First try at the park got me some perching wood ducks.

Wood ducks (and mandarin ducks) are perching ducks. They nest in tree hollows and as their name implies, can perch in trees. This drake flew over with a hen and they landed right over my head. Just a warning, when standing below perching ducks, know where their tail end is at all times and position yourself accordingly (preferably not directly below). 

By my third try of Prospect for the Prothonotary, I got some intimate photos of a blue jay.

Blue jays are so smart, they don't dare let you get close. Nor do they like to make eye contact. But this one had different feelings and let it be so. I love admiring their mix of blues. Often disregarded as pests at feeders or loud and mischievous, I see one smart and damn beautiful bird.

Also this week I enjoyed a look at not only blue-headed vireos (pictured), but also a yellow-throated vireo heard and spotted by a group of friends I ran into in Prospect that day. I love both species' little spec's adorning their face.

On my third try of attempting to find the prothonotary, I got word it was sighted while I was at the park. So, naturally there I went.
"It was here just 5 minutes ago."
It seems this bird has a circuit and I had till 3:30pm before I had to leave to go back to being a mom and a responsible adult.
So I waited.
During my hour plus wait at Three Sisters a large critter came bounding from the islands far side. A bright eyed trash panda, commonly known as the Common Raccoon decided it was time for a change in its sleepy spot.

Quite chonky, but also clearly a good amount just fur, it made its way into and up inside this hollow log and presumable went back to snoozing.
After this moment of hilarity and cute, back to waiting I went.

At this point another person was with me, but I side eyed over where they were standing and in the reeds I saw a little highlighter yellow that wasn't there before. I suppose they were new to birding because they didn't notice it. But finally, the Prothonotary showed up in a place where it was mostly obscured, of course.

Three minutes of enjoyment and then it went back to it's black hole only to randomly reappear, seemingly out of nowhere, later on or tomorrow.
Now just enough time to pick up my little nugget and get home earlier than I thought. Calling this a victory because other birds are calling my name.

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