Saturday, August 28, 2010

Prospect Park is Gorgeous!

Another amazingly beautiful day, and nothing scheduled!  We decided to head over to Prospect Park and go on their guided walk.

We took the subway over, it was fine and easy.  Walking over to the Audubon center, I heard an intriguing birdsong from the woods on the right but didn't investigate - they always try to lure me in and distract me, but this time I resisted!  Further along the path we saw one little lovely, and heard a different intriguing song, and looked briefly but stayed on course.

We waited for the leader by the boathouse, and it was just beautiful!  The boat was there, and actually it looked pretty tempting.  Several ducks were hanging out, it looked like Mallards or some mixes.  Also there was  a family of swans, 2 adults and I think 4 youngsters.

One of the adults beat its wings briefly.  So pretty!

The leader Michelle got the walk going, and we started to walk towards the peninsula.  Very quickly we ran into this lovely black and white warbler.  It was odd, though, because it didn't really want pictures.  In Central Park the B&W's are usually shameless when a camera is present, displaying themselves at different angles, coming closer to make sure you can get a good shot.  Well, off to a good start, anyway!  

We kept walking, and came to a place with a little view of the water.  There was a kingbird across the water from us, just picking off left and right, taking some insects from the surface of the water even!    It was a kingbird heavy day, which of course I love.

There was also a redstart, which turned out to be a theme of the day.  There were so many!

My favorite of this section of the walk was the Canada.  Yes, my old non-photo-friendly friend the Canada, and he was just as gorgeous and just as jumpy here.  We got a good view, I could see the necklace, the eyering, the camera avoidance - it was definitely a Canada!

I of course went to the fringe of the group, and tried to get around to get a better view of a particular tree on the edge of the water.  I stood by a fishing dude and leaned a bit and found a parula and a black throated blue!  Sadly, no picutres.

It was about here in the walk that I found it really striking how much more wild and remote Prospect Park seems then Central Park.  The ramble of course is hardly wild at all, this was more like the north woods, but even more so.  There were no buildings on the horizon, it wasn't crowded, the paths were nice....... It was just an amazing gorgeous park.  The down side is that it was much much harder to get pictures of the birds, between the depth of forest and the newness of the camera!

There was another (or maybe the same) black throated blue a little ways on.  There was also a magnolia which I didn't really get a good look at.  They said there were two, but I was at the fringe and distracted by a flycatcher of some sort in another area - you know how I like the fringe!  Anyway the flycatcher was definitely not a kingbird.  And that's about all I can say about it.  I got frustratingly brief glimpses as it came up out of the reeds/grasses, it was just enough to keep me glued to that spot.

Then someone in the group spotted a green heron!  It was across from us on some sort of large plastic tarp.  I'm so excited!  I think the green may be my favorite heron, and I haven't seen any in Central Park at all.  So that was quite a treat!

Then we wandered over somewhere away from the water, and there was a grassy area, and there was a big tree.  Possibly a willow.  And there was a row of trees nearby.  In the willow was this warbling vireo!  Michelle and her friend heard it, but I think I'm the only one who saw it.  I thought I saw it, and told them, but they got distracted by some other bird and they were all on the other side of the tree.  When I got a good look at it and thought this was probably the bird they were looking for, I called Michelle over, but the bird left.  While we were searching for it again, something whizzed by, we chose to believe it was a hummingbird.

Also in that tree was this oriole nest which I saw while I was searching for the vireo.  Very cool!  :-)

We moved on down a path (I have no idea where in the park we were) and walked by a little clearing type area on the right that had a bunch of flycatchers, and one really yellow bird that might have been a flycatcher or something else, it was close to the ground and we didn't get a decent look at it.  I did get another glimpse of it out in the open, clinging to a large reed/grass, but couldn't get a picture in time, and didn't get enough of a look to have any real information.  That's the trade-off with the camera.  If I can get a picture it's really really helpful, but sometimes the bird totally defeats the camera!

Also right there were some cedar waxwings.  I guess they knew Jack was coming!  :-)  Someone said they saw a nest and a waxwing feeding a chick, but I didn't see that.  I was looking for the mystery yellow bird!  

Further along the path Michelle got very excited because she though she saw a chat, but it turned out to be an oriole.  She had seen a bar across its eyes but it must have been a little branchlet.

A bit further along were some wrens in what appeared to be a nest in a fissure in a tree trunk.  It was cool!

Then there was a chipmunk!  Those little guys are hilarious!  :-)  It actually got chased off by a robin.

All over there were really a ridiculous number of redstarts - I saw 2 males and tons of yellow ones, either female or juveniles.

While we were walking out with Michelle's friend, we saw a few more redstarts to top things off.

We also saw this guy, who I guess is a juvenile wood duck?  The pattern doesn't look right, but the shape does and the eye does.  And the pattern doesn't look like anything else in my book.  And everyone reports wood ducks from Prospect Park all the time.  Based on all of that, I'm thinking this is probably a wood duck.  Yay!  :-)

On the way out, really by the edge of the park, we saw cardinal daddy feeding "baby" something weird.  I don't know what it was.

Anyway, Prospect Park was great!  I'll definitely be back.  :-)

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