Saturday, September 18, 2010

Another strange day

Today Jack and I ventured up into the park.  I wanted to check on the ruddy shelduck and then explore the ramble, Jack wanted to see hummingbirds and then walk, walk, walk until his poor back felt better.

We started out at the pond, where there was no ruddy shelduck.  I hope she comes back!  I mean, it really seems like the perfect place for an ornamental duck.  But she might be moving on.  I didn't really look around beyond that, because Jack didn't want to stop very often.  We didn't see the wood duck or cormorants or herons or anything.  I wonder if the herons are gone already, it's been a while since I've seen them.

From there, we just booked it up to the ramble, not stopping for anything!  Well, except for 3 blue jays that were high up in a tree, raising a ruckus.  It's nice to be able to hear a bird and then find it!  :-)  After that, we went straight over to the oven, no stopping.

And the trip as worth it - hummingbirds!  It looks like we have 3 today.  At least one of them is quite territorial.  He has claimed the front patch of jewelweed (the area right by our concrete "seat") and perches in the tree (willow?) there.  When another hummingbird comes over he chases them off, sometimes quickly, sometimes with a hummingbird-style face-off and/or duel.  Then he would go right by to his perch.  I mean sometimes he would visit maybe 2 flowers, but then, right back to the perch.  It was awesome!

There was quite a bit of chasing, obviously.  When we turned to look at the yellow warbler they buzzed us from behind, chattering.  :-)

Oh, did I mention the yellow warbler was in the white flowers if we turned to look the other way?   Yes, looking just as gorgeous as can be!

There were briefly 2 waxwings on the far mudflat.  I guess they are juveniles, their plumage is really different on their backs and chests.  And sort of scruffy looking.

A chickadee briefly stopped by, trying to fool me again.  But I'm wise to its ways now.  I think they know they look larger next to the hummingbirds, and that's why they come here.  Confusing new birders must be some sort of sport.

There was also a song sparrow hanging around the near mud patch, coming out for a brief glimpse now and then. A common yellow throat was doing the same thing, they were just teasing us.

I saw a grosbeak briefly on far mudflat, but just the one, and only that one time.  Funny, last time I was here they seemed much friendlier!

Jack decided his hummingbird time was sufficient and left to walk off his backache.  I left also, to amble about the ramble.  First I headed over to the gill.  It was quiet on the way there, and quiet when I got there, at first.  I was remembering the little warbler I saw here last time and hoping it would resurface.  Instead I got a house wren!  :-)

Over to azalea pond where there was a thrush or some sort.  I don't know what kind.  I can tell that it was not a veery, that's as far as my thrush ID skills have progressed.

While I was there I heard a bird calling and didn't recognize it.  Of course I'm used to not recognizing birds and then finding a robin, but I decided to try to find these birds anyway, since it was so slow.  It took a while but I did find them - flickers!  I had never heard them make that sound before - well that might not be true, it's possibly I heard the call many times but just didn't know it was them!  Anyway, the sound does turn out to be in the voice file of my app, so hopefully I will remember it next time.  It was nice to see them!

Somewhere in there was, of course, a black and white.

Made it to and over the wood bridge while somehow missing birds and all signs of birds.  So quiet!  I went down to the rocks and sat there for a little while.  Quiet, quiet, quiet.  My eye caught some movement and I saw something - it was probably a pigeon, but it looked interesting, so i went over near the rustic shelter (?) but couldn't find it.  I decided to just keep moving, because I was actually pretty chilly.  Those weather people may have overestimated the degrees we would have that afternoon!  I would have been happier with about 5 or maybe even 10 more.

So I went around the other way toward the stone benchlet, and to my complete surprise saw somethng that might have been a vireo!  It did not stick around long enough for a good look.  But that was okay, because then I saw somethng that might have been a redstart!  And then something that might have been a veery.  These birds went through really quickly!

Then a water thrush, that one I was sure of.  I mean, I don't know what kind of waterthrush, but at least I know waterthrush!  Hey, it's a step.

Then I got an okay look at a sparrow that might have been a song sparrow, but really didn't seem quite like it to me.  But I don't really have other candidates, or a picture.  Oh well.

OK, it's super quiet again, time to leave for sure this time.  Didn't see anything on the way out.

Until I was on the sidewalk about to go into the subway  and saw a dot in the sky.  Alert!  Alert!  Dot in the sky!  I dug out my binocs to check it out, and it looked like maybe about a dozen or so migrating hawks way up there?  Or maybe I was being overly optimistic?  I called Jack to check them out from the roof, but he couldn't find them.

Once I got home I went up to the roof to check it out, and I saw something a few times but I'm really not sure what it was.  It looked like 6-8 large birds sort of circling around by the museum ish.  They were just so far away!  And they didn't come my way, they just sort of vanished.  So they might have been gulls heading to the reservoir.  Or wherever else gulls head to.  But there's at least a chance they were migrating hawks!

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