Sunday, May 16, 2010

Feels like home

Back in the park today!  Feels like home to me now.  I got a fairly early start, for me.  Left the house at 10.  Took the subway up to 86th to hit the SW corner of the reservoir, where apparently things were hopping yesterday!  On my way over there I heard a lot of interesting birds and did stop at this one big tree, where I saw a flycatcher or gnatcatcher of some sort.  I was looking for him again (grey, crest, I think there was a wingbar) when non-binoc-birder guy came over and we chatted for a few minutes.  It's still weird to be one of the young ones in birding.  He was younger than me (he looked maybe 30) but the demographics of this hobby have clumped us into the same group.  It's fun!  Anyway, to the reservoir!

It was quieter than I was hoping for, although I did see a Canada warbler and a magnolia at the bridge, and a couple others I couldn't identify.  Actually I couldn't identify the Canada, but some other guys there did.  I saw a Wilson's there also, my best look at a Wilson's yet!  They were not so interested in that, though.  They were all ~so~ high up in the trees, I decided the pain wasn't worth it.  I tried to take pictures, but only ended up with a couple of shots of some thrush, I guess probably a wood thrush.  I saw lots of thrushes high up in trees hopping around and hanging out, which I have not seen before, I've only seen them on the ground or briefly in a tree fairly low.  So I guess these are some sort of wood thrush, but I have no idea how to tell them apart.  I'm not even trying, leaving that for next year!

On to turtle pond.  On the way there I heard some more little lovelies and saw a female yellow-rump, I love them!  This time I did ~not~ get lost going to the turtle pond.  But only because I checked my phone's google maps quite often.  I get really turned around in that section still!  But, made it to the turtle pond. Where I saw these 7 goslings!  So cute.  Shame I couldn't get a decent picture.

Saw a couple of unidentified warbler type birds there.  They are so fast, it's maddening!  At the castle I saw a pair of yellow-rumps and a magnolia.  None wanted pictures today. Maybe tomorrow.  it's funny how they somehow sense when the camera is turned on!  Went around the circle above that garden (Shakespeare garden?) and then headed to the restrooms.

Going back to get to the ramble I passed someone looking at something with binocs, and he waved over another birder (who he wasn't with) so I went over to check it out.  He was looking at this hanging nest made by a house sparrow.  Usually they just nest in cavities but this one build himself a hanging basket, weaver-style!  He said they are related to the weavers.  So cool!  He said he has seen a couple in bushes, pretty protected, but this one was just out there hanging from a low branch directly over the path.  I hope it survives the next storm!

OK.  To the ramble.  Entering the upper lobe, I saw...... a housecat!  A black and white housecat - that did ~not~ look skinny or mangy - came from the north across the path, hopped over the fence, and made itself cozy in the upper lobe vegetation.  I found a park employee, he said the cat's been around for a while and they haven't been able to catch it.  He didn't really seem inclined to make any attempt.  He did say he'd call it in.  Oh well, I did what I could.  I guess we'll have fewer ducklings soon.

In fact the next thing I saw was ducklings, 7 of them being watched over by Mama Duck.  These look older than the ones I saw at the oven.  But still cute!

On the mulch path I saw a few "regulars" - black and white, common yellow throat.  And a mystery warbler!  yellow underneath, slate/blue on top.  Throat yellow.  That's all I know.  I saw him a few times, chased him, gathered others to chase him with me.  We found others - black-throated blue, in the beautiful sunshine!  Magnolia showing off for us!  But we never got a really good look at this guy.  One of the birders said she thought she saw some streaking (I saw no streaking) and maybe it was a Cape May.  I think she was extremely optimistic.  But, we also were following several birds, so we could well have been looking at different birds entirely.

There was a black-crowned night heron in the fallen tree, that was nice to see.  Catbirds frequently around, and this gorgeous northern parula.  I'm so glad I got a good picture of him!

From there, I went to check out the red-belly nest.  It was active again today, and I really though I heard chicks!  Not every time the parents went in, though.  So, maybe I'm being extremely optimistic myself.  :-)

While I was there, a beautiful Baltimore oriole came by briefly, really just trying to distract me.  As did a male northern cardinal.  And, as usual, another mystery warbler!  I don't even remember what this one looked like. There was also a female redstart filtting about, showing me her tail and then scooting out of camera range.

The catbirds are still everywhere, and still just a little shy.  I was happy to see this one fairly closeby.

To the oven!  I wanted to find that green heron someone accidentally found there Saturday.  I saw a mystery fly-catcher in the tree before the ravine, and saw a couple of semi-interesting things.  No green heron.  Ran into Stephen Chang, said hello, chatted, and he was on his way.  A few minutes later he came running over to collect me, saying there was a hatch-out and the mourning warbler was there and I should go see it.  Um, okay!  I followed him over.

Waiting for the mourning warbler to make an appearance with about 15 other birders, I saw this gorgeous chestnut sided warbler.

Eventually after a lot of waiting, changing position, looking, waiting, jostling about, waiting..... the mourning warbler appeared!  I found out later that this is a fairly big deal, bird wise.  I'm apparently very lucky to be seeing one so early in my birding.

Anyway, it was beautiful.  But way too fast and shy.  I did get pictures, but they basically suck.  But given that I probably won't get any more, I'm posting them anyway!  :-)

To the point!  I thought it might be quiet here since the hatch-out was very close by.  And it was pretty quiet, but at the water-spout thing I saw an oriole (it was totally oriole day today), a black-throated blue (briefly), a black-and-white (actually I saw 3-4 of these today, here and there), and this pair of waxwings.  I love waxwings!  They look cool in a David Bowie kind of way.  There was also a magnolia flitting about, but too shy for good photos.  Oh, and I ran into Dubai Guy, who told me my mystery hopper is probably a female common yellow-throat.  He was over the moon about the mourning warbler, and was searching for a blackpoll.

On the way out I saw a robin's nest with the robins feeding their chicks!  I couldn't get a good shot of the chicks though, the nest was too high up.  And on the main path someone was watching a different nest, also with chicks.  So cute!

Back to the oven.  A group of 4 orioles flew through and bathed, a whirlwind of gorgeousness!  I didn't know which way to look!  What a joy.

Then I saw this guy across the way, and asked the birder next to me if it was an indigo bunting. He said it was a blue grosbeak, and was delighted to have seen it!  When I looked at the bird I did see some rusty color on its back/wings, but I don't see wingbars in the picture.  So maybe an indigo bunting, maybe a blue grosbeak.  either way quite a treat for me!

There was a mama duck with one duckling there.  I hope the other one is still around somewhere, may it was with papa duck who was a little further back and hard to see.

Time to head home!  On my way out of the ramble I ran into a couple who were visiting birders, and I took them to the red-belly nest (we were all of 15 feet away from the viewing spot).  One of them was peeking out, so we had a great look at it!

OK, really done now, exhausted and happy.  :-)

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