Monday, September 20, 2010

Prospect Park, Post-Tornado

So today I went all over Prospect Park with Paul.  We entered at Grand Army Plaza, same place as the group thing.  But it looked pretty different, because the tornado came through here!

There were plenty big branches broken off of trees, several trees snapped off at the base, and about 4 or 5 big trees that were just completely uprooted, with a huge dirtball of roots sticking up.  It was impressive.  We did some clambering around because the trees (or parts thereof) were blocking the path.  I mean, it wasn't really a big deal or a lot of climbing, it's just not what one expects in the park.  I did touch the inner living wood, but not much because I would definitely have gotten splinters.  It's funny how it doesn't feel alive to me the way an animal does.  It's so foreign my touch doesn't even really recognize it as life.

Anyway at one point there was a huge tree across the path, and a little redstart had taken up residence already.  That didn't take long!

Overall the park was pretty quiet.  There were a few pockets of activity, so there would be nothing, nothing, nothing, and then sort of a frenzy.

While we were there we went through the zoo.  It was fine, nothing spectacular.  We did see some waterthrushes in a bird area.  Oh, and it turns out that waterthrushes are not thrushes.  They are warblers.  What????  This is jut mean to beginners.  It's like the whole Broadway / West Broadway thing all over again.

Anyway, we went to I think lookout hill where we saw several hawks flyovers, including a pair (I think of red-tails) flying and a merlin chasing them.  It really looked to me like the merlin whacked the trailing hawk, but when I said that Paul was pretty quiet so I'm not sure he saw it exactly that way........  :-)  Then there was one that was either a Cooper's or a sharp-shinned, I have no idea which and Paul was also unsure.  I only really saw a silhouette.

As we went back towards the water, Paul found us a perched hawk, probably a juvenile red-tail.  We were standing there for a while (I don't remember why, we were probably looking for something else) and Paul said, "Uuuuuummm, hey, is that a hawk?" "Where?" "Right there, right in front of us, sitting right there?" "Oh!  Um, yeah, it is!"  :-)   Hahahahaha!  Luckily he stayed for pictures, because I had to fight with the camera for a while.  But look how gorgeous he is!

Once we got down to the water we saw this green heron.  First I spotted it far away, and Paul figured out how to get us closer.  Not by jumping the fence, by looking for a place where the fence had already fallen so we could just casually step across, you know, without noticing.  And we were just in time, he caught a fish!

I know Paul was frustrated, but I thought it was a great day - my first perched hawk in ages, and my favorite heron catching a fish!  Yeah, I think the green heron is still my favorite, since I got the special close-up views in Cayman.

So we were about done and started heading out.  An Italian ices cart passed us, so Paul flagged the lady down and bought an ice.  Apparently they attract warblers, because suddenly there were little lovelies everywhere!  I don't remember what kind, I didn't get any good pictures, but it was fun watching them and watching Paul frantically eat his snack so he could get to the serious business of watching the little birds.  We agreed that next time it was slow, we would get some emergency ice cream to bring the birds out.

Then we were really leaving, but there were still occasional hawk flyovers on the way out!  :-)

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