Posts Tagged 'birding'



Recent Birds

Look who’s already hatched here in Brooklyn, while birds like Baltimore Orioles have only just begun to build their nests. We have baby falcons at 55 Water St., too. Future eaters of Robins? Ah, well, everybody’s got to make a living.Most warblers keep moving on through to nest further north, but some like the Yellow will nest within NYC. This one has that favorite of warbler morsels, a caterpillar. Wood Thrush, another NYC nester.We stared at each other for a couple of minutes, which is a long time for songbirds/humans.Savanah Sparrow.Hooded Warbler.Ovenbird.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow. Not a bird you see everyday. Seeing it groom is even less of an occurrence. What a view of that sharp line between dusky belly and white vent. That’s a good “tell” in the field.

Raptor Wednesday

The #BrooklynKestrels female having a sip of roof water.They will bathe in such puddles as well. These were taken April 20th. May 2nd found them both in a London plane one block from the nest site. Spotted the female yesterday. A Common Grackle was buzzing her.Now that the trees have come out, it’s harder to see birds.Woodlawn Cemetery doesn’t have all that many squirrels. And one less, now.On our trip to Virginia, we saw about twenty Osprey. There were three or four Bald Eagles. This is one of them.From the road: a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks across a long southeastern Virginia farm field. One of these had flown across our bow with prey in talons towards this tree, and when I got the camera on the scene, there were two!

Gavia immer

Common Loons are not uncommon in our waters in winter. But they’re usually way off shore and the wind is blowing you down! And they’re not in their breeding finery like this one, in Gravesend Bay recently. Shouldn’t it be up in the north country loooooooooooning?The knobby head makes me thing of a sock puppet, or a hand shadow. The binomial Gavia immer is made up of words meaning gull/mew and diver. When I was in Scotland some years ago, our group — I was the only non-Brit — was excited about a seeing Great Northern Diver. What, I asked, was a GND? Turned out to be just another name for G. immer, the bird I first heard as a kid in Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario (and the bird on the Canadian dollar coin, known as a loonie).You can just see the bird’s paddle-like feet extending behind. Set so far back, these legs are great for diving after prey, but not much use on land.

Laughing into Monday

Good to see the Laughing Gulls back in town. I heard them overhead for a couple of days before seeing any. These were out at Gravesend Bay and Floyd Bennet Field.An immature Ring-billed Gull, a mature Greater Black-backed Gull, and a Brant let you know that Laughing Gulls are on the smaller size. (The GBBG is the largest gull in the world, bigger even then a Red-tailed Hawk).
Leucophaeus atricilla, means, strictly translated, white-dusky black-tail. The stunning black head is breeding finery.

Some Birds

Migration is thickening. Here a few recent sightings:Yellow-rumped Warbler.Palm Warbler.Blue-eyed Vireo.

Pipilo erythrophthalmus

Eastern Towhee, often more heard than seen because they like the shadows of the shrubs and the woodland floor and the thickness of the scrub. “Pipilo” comes from the Latin for to peep or to chirp. This is a male, seen in Green-Wood.In the southeast, you can find them with white eyes. Up here they have red eyes. The species epithet, erythrophthalmus, means red-eyed. The light wasn’t quite right for revealing that very well.But check out the different patterns and shadings on this vent-view. Of course, this is breeding season. Out at Fort Tilden on Sunday, several males were seen and heard with a vengeance. The throat feathers fly when these boys sing out.There was not a warbler to be seen in that barrier beach scrub (not yet nearly as green as inland Brooklyn, which really started glowing this weekend). But, being in the middle of concurrent towhee, wren, and thrasher songs certainly made up for that.

When Doves Sit

Mourning Doves: one of our earliest local — that is, non-migratory — nesters. Their rudimentary stick nests can be tucked into trees or your windowsill. Here’s another pair on our fire escape recently. One or two has been showing up there or on the roofline a lot lately. (These were photographed though window and screen.)There’s a great view from this fire escape, but it’s awfully exposed for a nest. It’s a good place to throw your coo, though.The eyes are closed while grooming. Safety first!Got to see the familiar cooing up closeThe beak is closed, the throat puffs up, presumably like a resonating chamber. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed this before.


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