Friday, May 21, 2021

Doodletown and Brooklyn Birding This Week

     I decided with my vacation day on Monday to take another stab at Doodletown and Sterling forest on a more sunny day. Plus, on Wednesday, I took a few of my volunteers from work birding as per their request, we visited Green-Wood Cemetery for this. And lastly, today on day one of my weekend, I took to my bike and did a circuit to Plumb and back to Marine Park. It was such a nice day for a bike ride too.

A lot of loud bois at Doodletown, including this American Redstart

Elegant noisy boi, the wood thrush.
For what their song sounds like, I don't ever think I pictured them shouting like this.

I love brown birds that SHINE. Wood thrush, brown thrasher, worm eating warblers are the most gorgeous birds, they just have the warmest, richest tones. 
So beautiful.

The cerulean warblers are up SO DAMN HIGH. SO this one was "lower" and I managed an alright shot.
This blue boi is also just screaming!!!! Like every other bird here.

I went to Sterling Forest and while I heard and did see the Golden-wing warbler, I got no photos. So here instead, is a bull frog sitting on a lily pad.

Not a golden wing, but a blue winged warbler at Sterling, before I left for a long ride home.

I took my aquarium volunteers to Green-Wood on Wednesday, they asked for a birding walk. So we did just that!
We were greeted at the Sylvan water by a GREG, catching some fish.

We also got to see a green heron (pictured), a spotted sandpiper, a northern water thrush, and two Canada Warblers along the Sylvan water. 

On our route back to the main gate, we encountered many male scarlet tanagers. I think this was the highlight, because at one point we had 4 of them flying above us, catching insects, and being very visible. I think that everyone was delighted.
Like, if that isn't a spark bird moment, then I don't know what is.


...And a few of these guys were there too.

This morning I wanted to try for Plumb. The tides were to my liking, but honestly, not a whole lot happening. Aside from some crazy oystercatchers.

I love these birds, always so loud, with their crazy eyes, and that ultra orange carrot-beak. I also really love their cankles. I secretly want to pet their feet.

Scanning the marsh I found a few least sandpipers. This one was quite snoozy, just super round and tucking its head in and out of its feathers. Seeing as to how the beach was full of paired and un-paired horseshoe crabs, this little buddy probably ate well.
I was hoping that the spawning would have attracted more birds, but meh, felt pretty quiet, not even a single egret or heron.

I spied another birder looking at something and then I saw what the something was. I was so excited.
And they are so weird, they are usually super hidey, but sometimes you get one that just doesn't give a heck. And I thought that was this fella.
Then I realized what was going on...

After I put my camera down, I saw the "birder" waving his phone through the air. I thought that clapper was screaming at another clapper in the marsh behind us.
It was screaming at the recording this guy kept playing on his phone. I even made a comment, "oh, is that YOU, playing rail calls?! I thought I was hearing other birds." To give that hint as to his faux paux.
And he replied "yeah, but there are tons of them here." To which I replied, "well, play back isn't cool." To which he shrugged me off.
At this point I felt very guilty for photographing this bird.
I like to earn my birds, not cheat by playing calls. Not to memtion its nesting season. Birds are defending territory, attracting mates, and here is this guy, wasting this birds time and energy when it could be eating, attracting a mate, or actually defending its territory against an actual rain, not a recording of one.

Playback is unethical. Don't do it. And especially don't do it for 10+ minutes as this guy did.
Here is the code of ethics, and this behavior is breaking that first section:
(b) Avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger. Be particularly cautious around active nests and nesting colonies, roosts, display sites, and feeding sites. Limit the use of recordings and other audio methods of attracting birds, particularly in heavily birded areas, for species that are rare in the area, and for species that are threatened or endangered. Always exercise caution and restraint when photographing, recording, or otherwise approaching birds.

Needless to say, I left Plumb Beach fairly angry. So I needed to end my birding time on a good note, so I stopped at Marine Park on my bike ride home, rather than biking up and getting grit kicked up in my face along the Flatbush Ave "greenway," if you can call sidewalks that are cracked, broken, and full or grit, silt, mud, and shards of glass, metal, and plastic from car accidents that...

Anyway. I was greeted by hungry cedar waxwings, feasting on these seeds in this tree.

No idea what tree it is in and feasting on, but it allowed me some fun looks as this little buddy stuffed its face.

The closer osprey nest is looking less and less nest-like, but a pair of osprey, different from the ones at the active nest, continue to occupy the space. Is this just a practice round for next spring?

You know what feels great, standing on a trail, hearing a clapper rail, turning around and seeing said clapper rail.
This felt SO much better than what happened at Plumb. I earned this bird with some patience and had the privilege to enjoy it as it went about its business with a heck of a lot less disturbance from me, the viewer.

It even did some picking and feeding before burrowing in to a mound of dead grass. Such good stuff.
Now do birders cause disturbance to birds? There is no doubt that looking at birds likely does intrude on their space - which is why it is so important that we do absolutely as much as we can to not go out of our way to disturb them in ways that cause them to drastically change their behavior and disturb them to the point where they become stressed, loose opportunities to feed, or find a mate/raise young.
So if you're looking at birds, truly also get to know their behaviors, know when you are pressing on to hard, learn when to back off and not get too greedy. We do this because we love birds, right?! Let's make sure we show them some love with limiting actions (play back, approaching nesting birds) and increasing others (blowing them kisses, and waving hello to be polite - does no one else do this?!) that we take around them.

A snowy egret before heading home, with a much better feeling to continue the day on with.

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