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.

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