Sunday, January 2, 2011

Slush City in Central Park

I walked around the park alone today, unable to budge my husband from his recliner.  It's not his fault really, he was reading those Dragon Tattoo books.  But I am done with them, so, off I went!

I started out walking around the pond.  I had just read a report that there were 2 drake wood ducks at the pond "as usual."  Huh?  I know there's a drake wood duck there, but two?  Have I been missing something so basic?

Yes.  Yes, I have.  How embarrassing.  Whelp, live and learn, I guess.

At least I found the hawk again!  This time perched in the trees at the top of the rocks overlooking the bridge, between the carriage path and the pond.  I climbed up for this view.  As I was fixing my boots (I had to tuck my pants in, that's how slushy it was!) some kids were climbing up, I showed the first one the hawk.  He was excited, it was fun to share.  :-)  Then I left, watching to see if the exuberance (which was considerable, there were about 6-8 kids) would flush the hawk, but he stayed put.

On I went, towards the lake.  As I was wlaking over the bridge I saw a drake mallard doing that head up and down thing to a female, and I thought, oh, I've seen this before, he's trying to get something started.  But the female was only half facing him, and didn't seem too into it.  I waited.  For a while.  Eventually he started it again, and she did not respond with a corresponding head bob, she just laid low in the water next to him, looking for all the world like a submissive duck.  And then sure enough he climbed on - just two ducks doing their part for all duck-kind!

Up to the lake, nothing special happening.  Actually it was starting to get darker (it was never sunny so it was all relative) and I figured I had better go rather quickly through the ramble.  Maybe just stop by the oven and the feeders, then continue on around to the west side and head home.  Maybe try for the varied thrush?  But apparently he's really hard to find now.  But I definitely won't see him if I don't go, so......

Anyway, first stop, the oven.  As I approached some guy was feeding tufted titmouses (titmice?) from his hand, it was really cute.  I took some pictures and meant to get his email to send him a link, but he clearly didn't want to talk, so..... maybe I'll see him again someday.    I didn't stay too long, didn't get too close, just enjoyed him enjoying the birds.

To the feeders!  There was not a huge amount of activity here either, it was sort of strange.  Maybe because it's so late in the afternoon?

Okay, I might as well head over the the shed and see if the thrush wants to meet me.  Well, the thrush didn't, but this cooper's hawk did!

From there it really was time to get out of the ramble and over to where there are street lights, so I just headed to the west side and followed the park road home.  On the part of the lake that was open for ducks, I did not see a mandarin duck.  Hey, it happened once, you never know!  Anyway, I did see this sweet pair of hooded mergansers.

At the end of the day, 3 hours of walking through the park is good for body and soul.  Although my boots turn out to be not as waterproof as I had hoped.

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