Posts Tagged 'Prospect Park'

Common Nighthawks

Chordeiles minorIt’s been a difficult week. But one of the highlights was on Thursday, when a friend and I went into Prospect Park in the late afternoon. Just before sunset, we were in the Nethermead. Overhead, the chittering of many Chimney Swifts was heard as the little birds darted all over the sky taking their last meals of the day. And then suddenly, nighthawks! Chordeiles minor are much larger than swifts, with long pointy wings and long tails, making them look somewhat falcon-like. But their fast, loopy, erratic flight is all their own. I counted seven at once, whirling through the air as they gobbled after insects in the aether. Another group of birders counted twice that many over time. These photos are mediocre, but hopefully hint at the setting sun’s under-lighting of the russety undersides of the birds, and their distinctive wing patch-stripes.Chordeiles minorThey are on the move now, to their wintering grounds in South America.

A quintessential summer evening bird, this is a species in decline. It’s one of the species mentioned in this excellent op-ed by the head of the Cornell Lab. A must-read.

Great Crested Flycatcher

Myiarchus crinitusAlways a nice surprise to get a good look at a Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus), since they are usually at tree-top level. I thought this might be a migrant, and it may well be, but it should be noted that there are breeding records for the species in Prospect. They are the only cavity-nesting flycatcher in the U.S. The bright sun is making its neck look too white; the birds are more gray in the feather.

Orange Is the New Bluet

Enallagma signatumA male Orange Bluet (Enallagma signatum) in the afternoon sun.

Spotted (or Not) and Streaky

Actitis maculariusSpotted Sandpipers (Actitis macularius) — no spots once they’ve moved out of their breeding plumage — are patrolling the edges of fresh water bodies now during migration. Parkesia noveboracensisAlso along the watery edges these days are Northern Waterthrushes (Parkesia noveboracensis).

Downy Heron

Butorides virescensOne of a trio of young Green Herons (Butorides virescens) on a snag in the Lullwater this week. This one was sitting: I’ve never seen a heron sit before.

It was a month ago that I saw this fledgling Green Heron in Green-wood. That bird looked a little older.

I wonder if this trio is a result of a late-nesting pair or a second brood? At least two pair were nesting in the Lullwater area in May, making for a nice long Brooklyn breeding season for this species.

Flying Now

Vanessa carduiPainted Lady (Vanessa cardui). I’ve posted previously about separating these from the similar American Lady butterflies (Vanessa virginiensis); from this view, the four big wing spots mark the Painted; two big spots the American.Enallagma signatumOrange Bluet (Enallagma signatum) male. Small and slender, but striking when you see it: at Green-Wood’s Sylvan Water. Enallagma signatumAt the nearby Valley Water, the Orange Bluets were mating. Anax juniusCommon Green Darners (Anax junius) were also reproducing there. Here the male continues to hold the female as she deposits eggs. I have seen females of the species depositing eggs on her own, sans the grip.ThorybesNorthern Cloudywing (Thorybes pylades). Enallagama civileI wish there was a special place in hell for the people who just toss their butts any- and everywhere (take a look down street gratings some day). This Familiar Bluet (Enallagama civile) male seems to be less censorious. CercerisA couple of Cerceris genus wasps were hanging out on some rogue squash plants on the edge of the Long Meadow.Pholisora catullusCommon Sootywing (Pholisora catullus) hitting the light just right on pollinator-magnet Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis).

More Nesting News

Butorides virescensI know of two Green Heron (Butorides virescens) nests in the park, one at eye-level and one way up in the canopy.Butorides virescensThe sloppy-looking pile of sticks precariously thrown about up there seems to work for them. Someone said there were at least four of pair of breeding Green Herons in the park.nest3Didn’t see any activity here, but the mud looks fresh enough: Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica).Hylocichla mustelinaA Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) was working on this, adding a largish piece of white paper something to the mix.Turdus migratoriusAnd, out of the nest, a barely fledged American Robin (Turdus migratorius): speckled breast, no tail feathers to speak of yet, still some down on the head. “Looks like it just got out of bed,” said Molly, and in a sense it had.


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