Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer at the Pond

Back to the dentist means back to the park!  It was so hot I ended up just walking around the pond and heading home.  I guess birding season is turning into museum season!

After entering at 5th Ave, I climbed up the rock and right off the bat saw this night heron.  I tried to be slick, but I think he knew I was watching him.  He seemed a bit on edge but mostly okay with it.

Then walked over to the waterfall, watching these beautiful dragonflies on the way.  I mean, there were other less beautiful dragonflies as well, but I tried to focus on these little beauties instead.

Coming back from the waterfall, spotted this night heron (I'm not sure if it's the same one or a different one) across from the stone wall at the base of those stairs.  Lots of tourists were not seeing it.  I decided to let them not see it, they would most likely scare it away.

Next I saw the goslings, those crazy teenagers!  They are looking really funny right now.

You can see they are starting to get the classic markings.  They grow up so quickly!

On the bridge I saw this cutie downy woodpecker, just pecking away, shaded by the tree he's in.

And in the next tree over, there were 2 or 3 female redwing blackbirds.  I love these ladies, they are gorgeous!  It took some coaxing, but eventually one did show me her face.

Then over to the edge and crossing over the adventurous way, this frog was on the other side of the fence.  I hear them once in a while but almost never see them, so this was a treat for me.

Then I headed back home, all sweaty with my mouth still only half functional, to continue recovering indoors.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A swan-free outing

Today I decided to go see if the swans had babies.  I mean, there are goslings, and ducklings, so maybe there are swanlings in Harlem, right?  They seemed to be nesting there.  The two times I went....... well, anyway, I went up and walked around Harlem Meer and didn't see any swans anywhere!

I did see these cutie-cute ducklings, all bunched up and following Mama Duck who was really booking it across the meer.  I was surprised her little ones could keep up!  I have no idea what the rush was.

Then I saw the pekin ducks, there were three of them today.  They really look like they belong in a cartoon.

Then I got excited because I thought maybe I saw a black swan!  But it turns out I must have been looking through swan-colored glasses, because it was in actuality this cormorant.  He seemed to know I mistook it, he didn't want to get any closer.

Then I heard a redwing so I looked around for a bit, and did eventually find him.  Yay for learning what a bird sounds like!  I took a bad picture, in bad lighting, of a beautiful bird.  Then, wonder of wonders - he followed me!  He wanted pictures!  It was such a joy to work with a bird who could really work with the camera.  He came closer, he gave me different backgrounds, good angles, different head positions, the whole works.  He even sang, so I could get shots of his beak open.  This guy was a total pro!  After all of the birds who are mid-molting and running from the paparazzi, this was really a breath of fresh air.  Yay for Harlem!

Then I headed through the formal garden and over to the reservoir, where there was another bird willing to pose, this time a gadwall!  This guy was unbelievably gorgeous, in a subtle way.  He made sure to turn different ways for me, to show off the different patterns of his feathers.  I even got to see him fly a lap or so around the reservoir, chasing the ladies!  It was really something.

And I figured out why I haven't seen so many cormorants at the lake and the pond - they are all hanging out here!  I think there were about 8 or 10 of them, in line with the gulls, flying around, fishing, preening.  It was wonderful, but none of them were really into photos.

From there, over to the turtle pond.  To be honest, the most interesting thing was the wedding photo shoot.  A bride with a beautiful veil that did not at all match her beautiful dress.  Oh well, I hope they got good shots of her with the goslings in the background!  They all paddled across the pond in a line right across where she was standing, so I hope it works out.

Although they are also in that awkward in-between phase, just not quite as far along as the pond goslings, as you can see from this shot of one of them in the grass.

There was also a night heron hiding in the bushes, he came out for just a second but of course the camera takes longer than that to focus.  I went all around looking for a good angle, but the heron defeated me!  For the moment........

Oh, then I saw this interesting bird.  It looks like a grackle, except with a bronze-ish head.  And it was smaller  than a grackle.  Maybe a brown-headed cowbird?  That's the closest I see, anyway.

From there, I went through the castle and over to the lake.  At the upper lobe I saw this heron, who seemed much more okay with pictures than the one at the turtle pond.

At the wood bridge I saw another young robin, and this time was able to get a non-blurry picture!  These guys are so fast.

And I confirmed that there is definitely a flicker in the (formerly) red-belly nest.  Wow, I guess the flickers just sort of kicked out the red-bellies!

Exhausted, I made my way back through the upper lobe to catch the subway, and saw the heron showing off.

It was a really nice time.  I mean, sort of exhausting, but nice!  I enjoyed going back up to the meer.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Flicker in the Redbelly Nest!!!!

Well, I went to the park just wanting to look at some nature, hoping to find some ducklings at the pond, check on things, have a nice walk, that sort of thing.

First at the pond I saw the wood duck, who is molting.  He was absolutely mortified at being seen in such a state, and swam like nobody's business when he saw the camera!  I tried to tell him that it was for science, but he saw right through that.  I tried to tell him nobody reads my blog anyway, but he wasn't willing to chance it.  So, I only got a couple of far away (and receding) shots.  I'll try again soon!

I found one of the night herons on the near shore, pretty well hidden in the bushes and apparently snacking on ....... well, something.

Then the goslings - I'm not sure that's even the right word any more!  As you can see, they have definitely entered their horrible awkward in-between phase.  Hopefully they'll be getting more feathers - and dignity - soon.

Just when I was starting to lose hope - ducklings!  At last, ducklings at the pond!  There were a whole mess of them, I couldn't count them in the reeds, just as cute as can be.  I just wanted to scoop them up and cuddle them!  I mean, I didn't do it....... but it was tempting!

Up at the lake, things were not so exciting.  I did catch this female oriole at the oven.  She was not at her best.  "I just washed these feathers, and I can't do a thing with them!"

There was a mama duck there with a couple of almost-grown ducklings, she was listening with interest and possibly alarm to the two ladies practicing what might have been opera singing.

Then at the azalea pond or thereabouts I saw a robin who had a really spotty, splotchy chest.  It looked so weird!  I ran into a very nice birder lady who was happy to hear about it, and she explained that was a young robin.

Then I went to the red-bellied woodpecker nest, seeing if they were home, if maybe I could see the young ones this time.  I waited and after a couple of minutes, out came a woodpecker head.  Then the woodpecker came out and sat on the trunk.  One problem - that's a flicker, not a red-belly!  Could I have been wrong all this time?  No, I looked at my old pictures, and they are clearly red-bellies.

Did this dude just sort of take over and kick out the red-bellies?  It's a strong maybe.  What happened to the chicks?  No idea.

Just to emphasize that not all woodpeckers are the same, a pair of downies came through.  I was distracted from watching the flicker in the red-belly nest by the downies.  It was a whole woodpecker situation!

That was about it for me, I headed out to the upper lobe to catch the train home.  And while I walked around I noticed a few waxwings taking advantage of the bounty there.  And just for a teasing dessert, a gorgeous male oriole came through much too quickly for me to get a picture.  :-)