It’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.They 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.
Always 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.
A male Orange Bluet (Enallagma signatum) in the afternoon sun.
Spotted 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. Also along the watery edges these days are Northern Waterthrushes (Parkesia noveboracensis).
One 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.