Monday, December 27, 2010

Post-Blizzard Birding

Who can resist Central Park in 22" of fresh snow?  Not me!  Or apparently any small child, the park was fairly overrun in places.  It was hilarious.  Anyway, the blizzard is over, the snow is here, it's freezing and sunny, and it's time to go check it out!

I decided to just walk, the subway was definitely not worth it.  I made it over to the pond just fine, although getting down the stairs at the 6th Ave entrance was pretty dicey.  It was really more of a controlled slide.

I was surprised at how many people were out, but it was still gorgeous and felt quite unspoilt.

The wood duck was out!

The pond was much more frozen today than Saturday (which was the day before the blizzard) so the ducks were really concentrated!

I had a few really beautiful hawk fly-overs, but only saw one perched far away (in Hallett) and briefly.

Going along the park road towards the boathouse, I saw a group of 3-4 yellow-bellied sapsuckers.  I don't really know what was happening, but it looked like there were a few disputes of some sort!  They look so gorgeous and vivid now, the coloring is much prettier than in the summer.

Just past the boathouse going into the ramble there was a group of birds that obviously expected to be fed.  Here's a white-throated sparrow hopping.  I loved watching the birds hop on the snow, it was hilarious!

I found this Christmas tree.  It turns out to be a memorial for pets.  I don't know if I can just make ornaments for Tasha, and maybe Fat One, Feisty One and Little One, and they become part of it next year.  Or is there is something else I need to do.  And I don't know if it will be this exact location each year or if they move it.  But I'm completely charmed by this project!

I eventually made it over to the oven (it wasn't easy with the paths like this) and it was jsut quiet, quiet, quiet.  Very few people had been there, I had to step in virgin snow.  I thought I heard something really interesting, but then realized it was the trees moving, with the weight of the snow and them rubbing against each other unusually, it made quite a sound!

On to the feeders.  He is where the action was!  The goldfinches were impressive in their dedication to this feeder.

The chickadees were everywhere!  And quite non-shy.  A few of them came right over, seeing if I brought them any more seed, maybe something different from what the feeders offered.  You know, just to check.  One or two actually flew over to me, face-height, looked at me briefly, and then went on.  Do they actually recognize people who feed them often?  Of course the people claim this, but it seemed a bit of a stretch to me.  This would be an awesome research project!

Anyway, lots of tufted titmice (tit-mouses?) here as well.

And there was one house finch, making a brief shy appearance and refusing to allow the %@## camera to focus on him.  Which is completely consistent - I don't think I have any decent pictures of a house finch at all yet.

On the ground was a song sparrow mixed in with the juncos and various others. Here he is hopping!  :-)

This goldfinch has given himself a snow mustache/beard combo.  He seemed confused about what to do about it.  Hilarious!

There was a showdown between the redbelly and the downy over the coconut feeder.  The redbelly won.

As I as going, I heard a squirrel alarm call, so I found the squirrel and started looking around.  Didn't see anything to be alarmed about, and the birds were all just happy as could be.  Then in came a Cooper's hawk!  Thanks, squirrel!  Because of the snow I couldn't get a decent sight-line for a picture, but it was great to see him.

From there I pretty much started walking back.  Even with the toasty toes and all of my gear, three hours in the snow was enough!

No comments:

Post a Comment