Sunday, October 17, 2021

The Eagle has Landed

     I headed to Green-Wood Cemetery last Friday and enjoyed a lovely fall morning that felt more like a summer morning. Much was quiet on the migrant bird front, but there was still plenty of sparrow to analyze and sift through. And for a baby-free outing, I could reallllly slow down and digest every sparrow I spied, which felt so great to do. 

A pair of wood duck were swimming on the Sylvan water and along with a flock of Canada goose. The geese started to amble on up the grassy hill along the Ravine Path to feed. Then all of a sudden the two ducks took flight and out from the hill, the geese came flying back down to the water. Something spooked them...

A Bald Eagle many who call, Rover, because his leg band reads "R over 7," flew in from above, low, looking to perch and that he did! A bird so large would for sure cause that kind of a stir!
I love this head on look at birds of prey, you can see that binocular vision that helps them be precise and amazing predators.

This bird is showing 4 year plumage, which apparently between 1.5 and 4.5 years can vary a bit in their stage appearance, looking more like a 4.5 year old these days but truly a touch younger than that.

When you have an itch and you have talons, I suppose one needs to be very careful.

A sign that winter is on its way, despite the near 80 degree temps, dark-eyed junco are filtering in.

heard a tap-tap-tap above my head to see this little downy just going about its day.

The late fruiting trees are just a smorgasboard for the robins! They are also going through that shift in diet from summer worms and insects moving on to the fall and soon winter berries that will sustain them when the ground is frosty.

I also love how these berries match their bellies.

The warblers moving along the ground with the juncos and other sparrows are mostly palms, bobbing their tails as they go.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Plumb & Floyd 10.6.21

     In a crazy turn of events, this last week the kid's day care was closed for non-Covid related things and my spouse and I were not ready for another week of working at home while being parents. So with the help of some grandparents swooping in, we were child-free for nearly 4 days. I know for the grandparents it was rough, in the way that they had to hang out with the cutest, most loving little nugget, day in and out! I did learn that they took her out for walks to look at birds, so her training has not skipped a beat! (Grandparents are the best!)

    So of course, not having ALL THIS FREE TIME, I did a few bird outings before work, after work, the world was my oyster. Since I had a late shift yesterday, I did a nice robust morning of birding at Plumb Beach and a quick twitch at Floyd Bennett Field. You know that you've birded without a kiddo, because you got semi-decent photos on an overcast day. I usually have a friend tugging my legs or jostling me, so such a feat would normally be impossible. I would be kidding myself of course, if I didn't say that I very much enjoyed a little extra kid-free bird time...

One of a large group of Sanderling, with a pair of dunlin mixed in.

The two dunlin.
Ultimately these birds were spooked off by off-leash dogs.

Two juvenile semipalmated plovers were busy being as round as they could be, hanging out at the wrack line. They were far enough away from the water that I suppose they went undetected by the dogs.

I took my scope with me and got some video of the birds at Plumb by way of my PhoneSkope adapter.
And then the eye piece on my scope decided to detach and not re-attach, so now my scope has been sent to Vortex to get repaired.

100% what I came to see, this is a Nelson's Sparrow. Also saw Saltmarsh and Seaside Sparrows! Was also graced with the presence of a Caspian AND royal tern! I wasn't sure if a high tide visit would pay off, but it definitely did.

I also took my scope with me, and got some video of the birds.

I visited FLoyd when I heard there was an American Golden Plover. so since I was so close, I gave it a quick try. 
I arrived to a NYPD Helicopter doing water drills, noisily over where the bird was reported. What are the chances it would still be there.
Well, this belted kingfisher didn't seem to care, so perhaps I'd be in luck.

The original finder was still there, and said the bird was hanging tight.
I walked over and there it was! My first American Golden Plover was at Floyd Bennett Field last winter.

And of course there was also a nice black-bellied plover for comparison!

Now that the kiddo is back, I'm looking forward to a nature walk tomorrow together. Birding alone is fun, but I look forward to some very organic nature exploration tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Some Me Time

     I enjoy birding with my daughter, and lately I've been experimenting with her doing a bit more walking. It is very challenging to bird with a toddler who doesn't know any better and keeping my eyes on two birds at once is tough. So, it's fun to get out in nature with her, but my eyes are not 100% on birds. So, I do enjoy the chance to also get out on my own.

    I had the opportunity this weekend and took some time to walk and bird Green-Wood Cemetery and it was a lovely morning out. Trips on my own allow me to move as slow as I want, over whatever kind of terrain I want, and just give all my senses to the world around me. Do I feel a little tiny bit of guilt when I see some cool birds that I know she'd likely enjoy? Yeah, I do, a little bit.... but we'll keep spending lots of time outside in nature and we'll at the very least come to appreciate all it has to offer. But also, birding and being outside restores me, helps clear and re-focus my brain. Plus, after a week of working from home with a toddler, a little me time goes a long way for my sanity.

I arrived at the Crescent Water to find the crab apple trees had all kind of little goodies foraging within them or hunting from their outer branches. This red-eyed vireo was foraging down low, close to the water.

It's eyes were more brown than red, so this bird is likely a bit younger. The adults have much more red eyes.

There were plenty of Eastern Phoebe to go around. The temperatures were quite warm in the sun, which I'm sure this bird and other insect hawkers appreciated.

There were also a decent number of migrating fall warblers. And a lot of them look quite similar, so I was trying hard to figure this one out...

Then it threw me a bone, some bay blush on its flanks means this is a fall bay-breasted warbler! I also am able to rule out blackpoll warbler (that I also saw) because it didn't have pink feet.

This was a nice year bird.... a gray-cheeked thrush! And my gosh, look at those extra long legs and toes!

A very picturesque juvenile chipping sparrow giving the ol' over the shoulder.