Thursday, April 8, 2010

Central Park again

Today I went up to Harlem Meer, trying to get a glimpse of the osprey that was reported up there. No osprey. Looked for the black-crowned night heron. No heron. But it was beautiful, and I did get the swans in a more cooperative mood photo-wise. This one posed for me several times, trying its neck at different angles, turning its head this way and that. There was a swamp sparrow on the island, but the pictures of a later swamp sparrow came out better. The ruddy ducks were still there, I love it when their beaks are blue! I'm fascinated by this - how do the beaks change color? I mean, I can understand growing new feathers, but surely the birds don't grow new beaks. Actually I don't totally understand how feathers grow. I have a lot that fascinates me. Anyway on to the loch, where I found a log to sit on in what looked like a good spot, and waited for the birds to come by. A few kinglets buzzed by, teasing me, not posing, not showing me their crowns, really just laughing at the beginner. Then the swamp sparrow started coming around, and agreed to a few pictures. I had no idea what it was, just that it was different. Then the palm warbler came by and hung out for quite some time, I think it was still there when I left and moved on. These are so hard to photograph, much harder than seems reasonable. I really need a camera not only with a better zoom but with a faster auto-focus. The little ones just jump (or flit) right out of the frame just as it gets focused. It's maddening! :-) Anyway he was gorgeous and it was great to be able to watch him and look at so much detail, remem-bering the ones I just saw in Cayman. A guy came over and told me how to tell kinglets apart without seeing their crowns, that was great, although I'm not sure my eye is up to it with that fast flightly little bird. He also tipped me off that someone was recording a kinglet who was just sitting there preening and singing, so I went to check that out. These picture are so disappointing. I mean, the kinglet was still. Mostly. It was at least not flying about. Just preening, showing its crown, sitting there for a long time. I took lots of pictures. Why are none of them decent? That I canot answer. This camera sometimes doesn't like to focus on birds the first couple of shots, but I took like 15, thinking surely some of them would be good. Oh well, hopefully I'll figure out how to do it differently and increase my odds of a good shot. At least the crown is visible. This is clearly a ruby crowned kinglet. Then I went to another spot further along, saw another kinglet there, but didn't really get a good look at it. As I walked on after that I saw a flicker, it was just too much of an awkward positioning to get a good photo. Then I took the subway down to the museum and headed over to the lake. Yeah, I just wasn't up for the extra 20 blocks of walking today, even though it meant skipping the reservoir. No raccoons for me today, I was surprised, I thought I was getting pretty good at spotting them. I did see this squirrel chilling out, looking like he could be posing for a cartoon movie of some sort. He's one of the cool kids in the back of the classroom. This cormorant was hunting in the lake, which really surprised me with all the rowboats that were out! He didn't seem to much care, I saw one of the boats get quite close to him before he dove under. Saw this downy, he was really beautiful. I love woodpeckers! Then by that rock that I think might be willow rock, another napping squirrel. What is up with that? A pair of cardinals chased each other around, did some singing, that was nice. Moving along I saw a couple ooh-ing and aah-ing over........ a field mouse! This poor little mouse was on the edge of the path, and was not at all afraid of humans. It kept going in tight little circles and sort of hunkering down. I really think it might have been rabid. I mean, I ~tried~ to scare it, and it just sat there. Poor little guy, I hope I'm wrong. Anyway, on to azalea pond where I saw this hermit thrush, and another pair of cardinals, both of whom wanted close-ups. I also got a glimpse of what was probably a kinglet in the same tree (cinnamon maple someone said) that the white-eyed vireo was in the other day. Walking down, I accidentally kicked a large stick in Sheep's Meadow (now open!) and hurt my poor big toe. Ouchie! I really should find sandals with a little more protection for birding. And then saw had a good look at a red-bellied woodpecker! I had gotten a couple of glimpses of a couple of them today but this one was the only one that stayed visible. A great walk!

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