Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gorgeous Fall Day in Central Park

Today I wanted to see if the ruddy shelduck was still at the pond, so I walked up to the 6th Ave entrance to check things out.

Before I was even fully suited up I saw this cormorant by entrance, in the little teeny section!  I've never seen them there before..... looks like it's going to be a good day!

There were some warblers across the way at Hallett, but I couldn't really identify them except for the black and white.

Making my way around the pond, I saw a common yellow throat male in the little patch of greenery just before the bridge.  He was hopping around completely unconcerned with the tourists there.  He had pretty much a full mask, looking spiffy!

In the upper section, there was the ruddy shelduck!  I'm so happy she's still here.  Yes, turns out it's probably female because there is no ring around the neck.  She was much less shy today.

Hopefully she hangs out for a good long time!

I looked up and saw a hawk or something fly over.  It was low enough for pictures but I was confused by it, something was different.  I noticed a strong black band across the tail  and on its wings (at least tips).  Also the tail was quite broad. Looking at the sheet and talking to Paul about the hawks, this was probably one of the  broad-winged hawks.  Cool!  It held its wings more pointy than it shows on the sheet though.

I didn't see the wood duck at all, and haven't seen any night herons in a while.

I booked it up to the ramble, going through the fountain and around the boathouse.

On the point I saw a few little lovelies.  There was definitely this maggie, and there might or might not have been a canada.  I thought I saw a necklace but I'm not sure if that was this bird or a different bird, it's possible it was this one with a branch faking me out.

There was also a common yellowthroat male and female pair, and of course a black and white!

That was all on the little dirt path out there, I didn't see anything else really so I headed over to the oven.

Guess who was there?  That's right - hummingbirds!  It seemed like at least 6 hummingbirds to me.  They were feeding of course, but also chasing, chattering at each other, and buzzing us once in a while.  They seem to be getting territorial.  A hummingbird will decide that a particular flower patch is its territory, and chase off other hummingbirds that come in to feed.  They completely ignore the bees, maybe they eat different things from the flower?

While there I saw a hawk flyover.  First there was one pretty low, took a look and saw another behind it, then another behind it, then further back suddenly they were everywhere!  There were at least a dozen, mostly too high to see with just eyes.  Paul said it was probably broadwing hawk migration.   It was amazing!  A guy with a camera to take pictures of the hummingbirds asked me what I was looking at, but he didn't try to see them, maybe he didn't have binocs.  I tried to point them out when they got low, but he never saw one.

Then I noticed that on my other side in the little patch of greenery was this lovely yellow warbler!  He was hopping around and generally being gorgeous in the white flowers.

There was also this beautiful common yellow throat, and of course a black and white.  It was such a magical time.  I sat in one spot.  If I looked left I saw the hummingbirds.  If I looked right I saw the warblers.  If I looked up I saw the migrating hawks.  Incredible!

Oh, and did I forget to mention the common yellowthroat peeking out of the jewelweed once in a while?

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and I left for an appointment.

When I got back, the hummingbirds were still there!

There was more perching today.  Or maybe I am getting better at seeing it.  They are hard to follow!

I also saw what looked a bit like a himmingbird duel.  Instead of a straight chase they circled each other closely and went at each other a bit.  Hilarious!

There was one with a little ruby patch on its throat.  I was hoping to get the right angle to see the flash and I did, twice!  I got a picture of it once, but sadly...the picture is quite blurry.

The common yellow throat male came out of the reeds to pose a couple of times.  He's quick, this one!  

Then these muscovy ducks came by.  I heard someone say they were muscovy ducks anyway.  I looked it up, and it's definitely possible.  I don't know if other ducks get that red around their eyes and bills.  

There was a grosbeak pair that gave me tantalizing glimpses, and eventually one agreed to pause briefly on a branch to let me try to take a picture.

Now it was really time to go.  I crossed the upper lobe bridge and decided to walk down the lake, taking my time a little.  It was pretty quiet, after all it was about 5 or so at this point.  But along the way there was a sweet little black and white making sure to draw my eye, telling me goodbye for today.

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