Thursday, September 9, 2010

First Fall Thursday Walk

Today was the first AMNH Thursday morning walk with Harold.  It will be interesting to see how this goes, I would never have pegged him as a leader.  It was a little odd that he referred to the walks as a class, and himself as the instructor.  But, you know, whatever.  Some guy named Tom was also along, I think it's that Tom Fiore dude, if he continues to join us I'm sure it will become clear.  He was nice.  There was also a woman there who seemed really nice, I think he said her name but I don't remember it.  The three of them seemed to stick together a lot, so I didn't try to chat with her at all.  I liked her though.

There was a chatty lady there who sort of latched onto me, maybe because I didn't know anyone else there and was obviously on my own, I don't know.

Anyway, we started by crossing over to the lake and going to the south and out onto the rocks to see the turtles.  Then we went to the upper lobe, it was pretty quiet, just some robins and sparrows on the way.  We went on the mulch path and at the top of that someone found a wren, I did see it briefly, but, no pictures.  We went towards the meadow and hung out there for a few minutes, it was really quiet, the group seemed quite pleased when I spotted a blue jay.  At this point I was getting just a bit nervous about this whole thing.

Anyway, we went up to the maintenance meadow, where someone else (not with our group) was watching a common yellow throat, so we went and checked that out.  The space was small though so I couldn't get a picture, there were too many of us so I of course went to the fringe and just went ahead a bit.

Which turned out great, because I found this beautiful Canada!  Well, okay, you can't tell from the pictures that it's beautiful, you can barely tell that it's a Canada, but really we should all just be pleased that the bird is actually in the frame.  They hate pictures!  Anyway he was moving quickly but not far, and we were able to stay with him for a long time.  Yay!  :-)

We also saw a yellow redstart flittng about, after a friendly park ranger told us about it.  He was new to the park, it was only this third day, and he seemed to be just birding with a uniform on, which I think is great!  He was obviously experienced and knowledgeable and friendly, so I hope I run into him again.

Moving around to the other side of those trees, the common yellow throat had followed us, or maybe there was another one.  It hopped up onto the fence long enough to let me spot it, but not long enough to let me take a picture or for anyone else to see it.  It was embarrassing, I kept saying "There it is!" and then someone would say, "Where?" and I would be like, oh, it left.  Basically this bird was toying with me.  When the entire group was leaving, backs all turned and walking away, it finally let me take a picture.  

We headed over to the maintenance meadow hoping for some action.  It was really quiet.

Once we were there someone spotted this gorgeous Wilson's!  Oh, he was just brilliant and beautiful in every which way.  Fast, but I think these are my first real Wilson's pictures!

I'm quite infatuated with the Wilson's as you can tell, because I was not able to choose between these two pictures.  :-)

Also in the meadow was a large group of blue jays.  It was hilarious!  They were loud and proud, and switched locations 2-3-4 birds at a time, so they were sort of slowly migrating in stages.

There was a yellow redstart here too.  This picture cracks me up because she looks like she's nestled in for a rest, all comfy cozy, but really, this was a ~very~ brief moment in her frenetic activity.

I couldn't pick just one pic for the yellow redstart either!

I saw this beautiful male redstart dart out from behind the tree very briefly, and didn't think we'd get a good look at him.  But a few minutes later he decided that yes, he would rather enjoy an audience, and he came out to show off for us.

Then I realized it was about 11 and I had better head back!  I'm really glad I went.  The group was about 10 people, a bigger group than I really want to be in, but I get the impression that by their standards it was a fairly small group.

I think for me the good things about having something like this walk series is that it gets me to actually go even if I'm feeling lazy, and it gets me to go to different areas instead of just going to my favorite few spots.  It's also obviously an advantage to have several spotters, some of these birds I would have missed even if I took this exact path.

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