Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mystery Bird in Central Park - the Oven

[ Edit: Mystery Solved!  Many birders have chimed in that this is a female red-winged blackbird.  My field guide does not show the face to have any orange-ish tinge around their face so I foolishly passed that page right by.  Although looking at the text, it does mention that some females show a red tinge.  Many thanks to everyone who took a look and responded! ]

I saw this bird in the ramble in Central Park at the oven today.  I have no idea what it is.  I have been through 2 field guides, and have not been able to narrow it down too much.  These pictures have been cropped and some have been sharpened.  No color or contrast has been changed.

It face reminds me of a varied thrush or a blackburnian warbler.  It was about thrush-sized.

Its chest and belly are strongly streaked.

Its back reminds me of a sparrow, although it was larger than a sparrow.

Its beak reminded me of an oriole's beak.

I would love to hear ideas about what this bird might be.  :-)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Our final walk in this series (I will miss them!) was pretty spectacular.  Before we even got going I enjoyed watching this kinglet

and this yellow-rumped warbler frolicking near the meeting spot.

It was easy to identify the yellow-rumped warbler.  :-)

We saw lots of yellow-bellied sap suckers, this is the only picture I got that's recognizable.  This was the brownest yellow-bellied sap-sucker I've ever seen!  Some of the others are starting to look really quite vivid and crisp.

This black-throated blue warbler was taking a bath and

and putting his handsome feathers back into place while

this beautiful magnolia warbler flitted about in the white flowers.  Only one problem.....

hey, where's your tail?!?!?!?!  Oh, poor Maggie, hope you can make it to the southland.

This blackpoll warbler distracted us, we were quite impressed by its ability to store energy for its journey.  It's a round one all right!

This northern parula was mostly in a tree across the street.....

... except for when it was in the street!  

We saw a few song sparrows, looking quite fancy.

Cedar waxwings came through the maintenance meadow while we were there.  When I took this picture, I thought there was only one waxwing.  :-)

Then this red-tailed hawk flew over nice and low.

Later we saw two circling high above, I'm glad we got a couple of low passes first!

There were several eastern phoebes around, not all of them posed as prettily as this one.

We also saw (and heard) quite a few red-bellied woodpeckers.  I remember starting out and thinking that the woodpeckers all looked really similar, and now they look so obviously different.  It's sometimes startling to notice how I see things differently with more experience.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

AMNH Walk with photobombs

Today was a great walk, although the first section of the walk the birds did not want pictures at all.  My camera was defeated by numerous kinglets, a northern parula, a mystery warbler, some yellow bellied sap suckers, and many brown creepers.  I finally managed to get a shot of a hermit thrush.

Okay, the contrasting tail is not hugely different than the back, but I can definitely see a difference.  Then this female towhee gave us a nice show, scampering about on the rock.

This gorgeous yellow-bellied sap sucker posed for quite some time.  He's starting to get some red on his chin.  Soon he'll be quite vivid and spiffy!

Then it was the find of the day. This white-crowned sparrow was hanging around near the castle, looking like the master of its domain.

Even when a giant happy squirrel flushed the other sparrows, it held its ground.  Props, white crowned sparrow!  Photobomb number one, giant happy squirrel.

This nashville warbler (or so Paul said, which I have to trust, because I can't tell at all) led me on a merry chase for this picture.

At last, a brown creeper my camera could focus on!  We was loads of these little fellows, but they are so well camouflaged that they actually defeat the auto-focus on my camera.  It's amazing!

This eastern phoebe sat pretty in a tree.  This is the first time I've been able to see that subtle dark stripe behind its eye.

I left the group but got called back when they immediately found a black-throated green warbler and a yellow-rumped warbler nearby.  Yay!  I was busy taking pictures of the gorgeous black-throated green warbler.....

... when the yellow-rumped warbler couldn't take it any longer and horned in on the photo session.  Photobomb number  two, envious yellow-rumped warbler.

The black-throated green left in a huff and I continued taking pictures of the yellow-rumped warbler, whispering promises of fame and glory.  A nearby mourning dove was intrigued and tried to sneak in.

It even looks slightly embarrassed but secretly hopeful!  Photobomb number three, ambitious mourning dove.  The walk was fun from beginning to end!  :-)

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Barred Owl reappears!

The barred owl was back in the ramble today!  It (she?) was just as beautiful, and it was an absolute pleasure.

First of all, this owl looks completely and totally like a cartoon.

It gives us a glance.

I would like to think it's hunting, but it's probably just trying to figure out how many admirers it has.

It performs a brief Rockettes-inspired routine.  Well done!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

AMNH walk, with hawk and hummingbird

Very early in today's walk we saw this Cooper's hawk eating a pigeon at Tanner Springs.  It took us a while to figure out why it was so quiet -- nothing like a Cooper's hawk to keep the bird chatter down!

From there, we slowly made our way over to Turtle Pond.  Along the way we saw several black and white warblers

A red-eyed vireo

A few red-bellied woodpeckers

This gorgeous pine warbler

And many others that were too shy for my camera.  I'm particularly sad about the black-throated green.  I don't see those very often and they are so gorgeous!  Oh well, another day..........

At Turtle Pond we saw a male common yellow-throated warbler, but he eluded us except for brief glimpses.  This female was not quite as shy, at least at first.  She sure disappeared quickly though!

After admiring the gadwalls we went up to the castle and came down through Shakespeare garden, where this hummingbird made our day extra-special.

After leaving the group I headed down towards Columbus Circle.  My Bonus Bird for the day was this black-crowned night heron.  I haven't seen one of these in a while, so I was really happy to see it!  :-)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Yellow-breasted chat at the oven

I went over to the oven this afternoon and looked around for a while and decided to leave.  At that moment, as I was turning away, something caught my eye.  A yellow-breasted chat!  So I stayed around, trying to get a clear shot of this gorgeous fellow.
Yellow-breasted chat, typical view
Somehow my camera knows when it's my first time seeing a bird, and it takes a lit of great shots out of focus. So the ones of the chat in the open, perched on a rock, worm in beak, poised to take off - yeah, those are terrible.  At least I got a clear one of the chat under a bush!  :-)
Yellow-breasted chat, lucky person view
Bonus grey-cheeked thrush, since I can now tell thrushes apart.  Mostly.


Just after starting the walk we saw this American redstart taking a bath.

And check out this American robin!  Apparently this one is partly albino.

Then up to Tanner Spring, where there were a bunch of white-throated sparrows.  They always look to me like someone put paint on the front of their face, or their beak maybe, and put them in a wind tunnel.  Wheeeeeeee!

A house wren was there too, playing hide and seek.  Mostly hide.

On the way to Turtle Pond, we went to a place that may or may not be called Sparrow Rock.  At this place we saw this house finch, what a cutie!

We also did not see a yellow-breasted chat.  We saw something briefly that convinced us to wait around a while, but no yellow-breasted chat emerged.  Oh well, that is apparently their nature......

At Turtle Pond we saw this palm warbler, and we immediately felt better.

And this common yellow-throated warbler.  Look at that gorgeous mask!  Ooooooohh, he's gonna be popular with the ladies.

There were several female gadwalls there, and one male.  He looked tired.

Along the path towards the castle was this juvenile blackpoll warbler.......

.....and this Eastern towhee.  I learned that you say it "tow-ee" like "tow a car" and not "two-ee" like "the number two."  It took me about a year to re-learn how to say vireo, so about this time next year, hopefully I'll have it.  :-)

This downy woodpecker came by to visit, it was nice to see him from this angle.

Here's one of the zillions of blue jays we saw - and heard - looking spiffy!