Posts Tagged 'birding'


Colaptes auratusIf you’re going to hide in the ornamental cherry, don’t be screeching. But then, nobody ever accused the Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus) of being subtle, with their loud calls, white rumps, and flickering yellow underwings (red in the West). Not to mention this palate of plumage…


Or, in birding parlance, the “little brown jobs” and “confusing fall warblers.” The little brown jobs aren’t necessarily all that brown once you get a good look at them, but they are small and flighty. The confusing fall warblers are now in their regular plumage, not their distinctive spring breeding feathers. These are not the hard ones, though.Melospiza georgianaSwamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana).Melospiza georgianaAnother Swamp, but still in breeding colors. Same day, same spot, by the way, as the previous bird.Melospiza melodiaSong Sparrow (Melospiza melodia).Geothlypis trichasCommon Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas).Setophaga caerulescensA Black-throated Blue (Setophaga caerulescens).Mniotilta variaBlack and White Warbler (Mniotilta varia).Setophaga coronataThe yellow rump of the Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) is best seen in flight.Setophaga palmarumPalm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum).Regulus satrapaAnd finally, the unmistakable golden crown of the Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa). Looks like there’s some ruby in there, too.

Butorides virescens

Butorides virescensAn inside source tells me that there was indeed a Green Heron nest in Green-Wood this season.Butorides virescensBehold a juvenile; there are at least two. Butorides virescensThis one caught two fish as it walked around the edge of the pond towards me.

These pics are from earlier this month. They will fly south any… minute now. After spotting none last Saturday, I thought they might have all left, but then I saw one Sunday.

Raptor Wednesday

On Saturday, two passes through Green-Wood Cemetery on either side of brunch came up zilch on the raptor count, so Sunday I went back in amidst the nuthatches, kinglets, and warblers. Within a ten-minute period, I’d spotted a Sharp-shinned Hawk, two Red-tailed Hawks, a Merlin, and then an American Kestrel: now, that’s more like it!

The Kestrel was munching on a dragonfly, probably a Common Green Darner. And then the Merlin showed up.img_0755You can just see the dragonfly in the enlarged version.

Welcome back Raptor Wednesday…!


Ardea herodiasimg_0300This Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) had a bum left foot. It was holding the toes curled and not putting any pressure on it. In flight, which seemed fine, it looked as if a toe was sticking weirdly upright. Butorides virescensGreen Heron (Butorides virescens), also at Crescent Water. I think it’s standing on something under there, because judging from some of the creatures that have emerged from there, it’s deeper than that usually.Ardea herodiasThis was all the same day, and since this Great Blue at the Valley Water was standing well on its left left, it was another bird entirely.Ardea herodiasWhen I passed Valley again later, it was gone, but then this one was at my next stop, Sylvan Water, so it may have been the same bird.

Raptor Wednesday

On a recent afternoon, I had the pleasure of experiencing the Brooklyn falcon trifecta. It all started in Green-Wood: the distinctive shape of one of the small falcons tearing through the air in the distance, met by the rough chorus of outraged Monk Parakeets stirred up by its cousin. (Yes, falcons are more closely related to parrots than they are to other raptors.) The bird proved to be a Merlin (Falco columbarius), and I snapped a few mediocre pictures of it on top of pine. Alas, the light was wretched for photos. Falco columbariusNot too long afterwards, a sudden excitement in the air proved to be a Merlin chasing a male Kestrel over the Sylvan Water. This was a first for me, although I’ve seen Kestrels go after Red-tailed Hawks and Ravens. The Merlin, perhaps the same individual as the first sighting, was in turn harassed from conifer to snag and back again by two-three Blue Jays. Falco columbariusFalco columbariusThen it was gone. Falco sparveriusThe Kestrel, which had perched high atop a tree briefly and then vanished, reappeared suddenly rather close, evidently trying to jump on something mid-air, presumably one of the few dragonflies to be found. He returned to the same far perch he’d been on earlier and did some grooming. I couldn’t tell if he’d dispatched the dragonfly after all.

Upon returning home, I took a glance out the window as I’m wont to do, and noticed something on the cross of Mike’s Spike, a perch with fantastic views of the neighborhood.Falco peregrinusPeregrine (Falco peregrinus).

For completists, there is another eastern North America falcon, the Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus), but it’s a boreal bird only rarely seen in our parts. It is on the NYC list, but not mine; I’ve only seen one in Iceland. As a bird of the far north, they’re like Snowy Owls in that when they do show up in our parts, they’re generally found along the barrier beaches further east on this Long Island.


gnatLate afternoon, under an elm and its satellite Redbuds, these little flies were thick in the air, and in the ear and eye, too. Many birds were feasting on the tiny things, including a Red-breasted Nuthatch, lots and lots of Palm Warblers, a noisy Black-throated Blue Warbler, several Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets, a Downy Woodpecker, and a pair of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers who were actually flying after the tidbits. I’ve never seen woodpeckers hawking for insects before. One of the Palms was picking the flies off a statue of one of Green-Wood’s innumerable angels.

The fly that got in my eye was eventually worked out at the corner tear duct, as I discovered an hour and half later upon getting home. Now, that’s what I call a good day’s nature observing. Up close and personal…


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