Posts Tagged 'birding'

Crow Time

Corvus brachyrhynchosSeen through the netting draped around a scaffold in Carroll Gardens.Corvus brachyrhynchos

Raptor Wednesday

Falco columbariusThe patience of a Merlin (Falco columbarius).Falco columbariusAnd its knowledge of our presence.Falco columbariusWe walked the wide way around this Ginkgo biloba of a perch in Green-Wood to get this front view.


Antrostomus carolinensisNaturalist Gabriel Willow, whom I explored Monhegan Island and other parts of Maine with last year, spotted a Chuck-will’s-widow in Bryant Park yesterday. This Midtown Manhattan park is a remarkable migrant trap, but this was pretty unusual, so word quickly spread. I managed to get to the park around 3:00, where, amid the dozens of Midtowners and tourists lolling and wandering in the warm sun, a few birders were triangulating on the bird.Antrostomus carolinensisThe bird’s eyes are closed in the strong sunlight. They spend the day perched on branches and hunt airborne insects at night. That tiny-looking beak is actually just the front edge of a huge mouth, all the better for gobbling through the sky like a vacuum-cleaner. (Update: turns out they’ll even take birds! Here’s a report from the Wilson Bulletin and here’s a blurry pic of a Waterthrush in the maw.)

This is the first time I’ve seen one of these, although I’ve heard one before. Their nocturnal song is distinctive: indeed, they say their name (well, more or less).

In 2010, I found a Whip-poor-will in Prospect Park. Since then, these related species have been moved from the Caprimulgus to the Antrostomus genus by the Lord High Taxonomists. Here’s some more on the goatsucker-nightjar-nighthawk complex, including two I saw in Texas last year.


Cyanocitta cristataA Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) shapes a growing nest with its body. “Its” because this could be either male or female, as both work on the nest. Cornell’s All About Birds does say that on average males do more gathering of nesting materials and females more actual nest-building. Note the ribbon: our cast-offs are finding some use.

Raptor Wednesday: Red Hook Edition

Falco sparveriusA friend sent me a picture of a pair of American Kestrels hanging out in Red Hook. Later in the day, I went by and found the female on an antenna on the same building, which is probably the location of, or near, a nest cavity. Falco sparveriusEvidently, they have been around for years. Locals insist they are eating Rock Pigeons. Nineteenth-century cornices for nesting, 20th century antennas for perching, and squab for dinner?Falco sparveriusA couple of days later, two Kestrels were perched atop a new private school being built, rather inexplicably for a flood plain, across from the Red Hook Farm, several blocks from the earlier sighting. The same or different?

City Lores

InwoodI saw my first egrets of the year Saturday, with three Great Egrets and four Black-crowned Night-herons at Floyd Bennett Field’s little freshwater pond, amidst a thunderous chorus of spring peepers. On Sunday, I saw another Great Egret in Inwood, looking here towards the Bronx, with perhaps a bit of Marble Hill in there as well.Ardea albaSpring means breeding, and these birds flare emerald in the lores during breeding season. Ardea albaThe lore is the space between the eye and bill. Hard to see without optics even if the bird is close.Ardea albaLike some experimental teen’s eyeshadow, no?

More Springtime

CrocusLeuconotopicus villosusCardinalis cardinalisAgelaius phoeniceus


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