Thursday, May 31, 2012

A gorgeous but not too birdy day in the park

The weather today was gorgeous, so I decided to head to the park.  First I went by the oriole's nest, still there, and looks like they've built more on.  One parent came by, took a peek, and then disappeared into the nest.  I never heard chicks, so I have no idea if there are eggs or what's happening.

Baltimore Oriole at nest

Baltimore Oriole at nest

A nice flyover by a red-tailed hawk.  Yay!

Red-tailed Hawk

This snapping turtle was holding dominion over all of the smaller turtles of the pond.
Snapping Turtle
Up to the ramble, where this green heron was at the oven.
Green Heron

They are so gorgeous!
Green Heron
The only other special sighting was all of the waxwings.  They are still everywhere!  There is something about their shape and how they sit on a branch that makes them much harder to spot than other birds, for me anyway.  I see a few in a tree, they leave, and I figure that's it.  Then 6 more leave, and I figure that's really it.  Then a few more fly out!  Repeat a few more times.  How were there a couple of dozen waxwings in that tree?!?!?!?!?
Cedar Waxwings
This black crowned night heron at the upper lobe was my special good-bye bird.  Thanks buddy!
Black-crowned Night Heron

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The steamiest "spring" bird walk ever!

Today was the make-up walk for the AMNH spring walks.  I got an early start, so I went around the upper lobe and into the ramble a bit before meeting up with the group.  First I found this black crowned night heron, looking quite dapper at the side of the upper lobe.

Black-crowned Night Heron
 There were waxwings everywhere!
Cedar Waxwing
 In one of the meadows I saw this robin tending its nest.  Robin babies do not wear diapers, so robin parents have to keep tidy in other ways.  This robin is removing a sac of feces from the nest.  And you thought cleaning your shower drain was gross!  There is a fancy name for this, but I don't remember what it is.
American Robins
 I also saw a flycatcher of some sort briefly.  Not a kingbird, smaller, with a soft yellowish belly, definitely looked like a flycatcher.  I tried to find it again to get a better look and a picture, but it continued to elude me.  To be fair, I was distracted by the red-tailed hawk flying over.  It was during this incident that I discovered my auto-focus was particularly slow today, and trying to focus on a circling hawk was too much for it.  I have no idea why, or what setting has changed.  Oh well, back to the search for the flycatcher........ no joy.  It did manage to distract me until it was past time to head to meet the group.  There's my irony for the day - being early to arrive and checking things out leads to being late to arrive!  :-)

I barely had time to check on the robin's nest.  At first I thought she was sitting on new eggs for a second brood, but....... is that another tail under her?  Could that be one of the fledgelings?  What is going on here?
American Robin on nest
 More waxwings!  They were really everywhere.  We saw bunches, and heard many more than we saw.
Cedar Waxwing, lucky person view
 A pretty dragonfly over azalea pond.  I think that they eat mosquito larvae, which means that I love them.
 This oriole was at the oven, looking like a teenager asleep in an embarrassing position after playing too many video games.
Baltimore Oriole
 Here he is again, after realizing people are looking.  Much more dignified!  He looked around, shook himself off a bit, and flew off.  Much like the same teenager would........
Baltimore Oriole
 You won't believe what else - more waxwings!  Here is the view we usually get, briefly.
Cedar Waxwing, normal view
 There were also some house finches that came by, and we heard both a warbling vireo and a red-eyed vireo but we couldn't find either one.  And egret flew over, quite majestically.
Great Egret
 And this red-bellied woodpecker found something delicious at the base of this tree!
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The evening that the pond was surprisingly crowded

We took a nice stroll around the pond, and I'm so glad we did - everyone was there!  First two adult black-crowned night herons, and then this juvenile.  

Juvenile black-crowned night heron
 And the wood duck!  And another juvenile!  And then this great egret!  It was hunting, cocking its head way to the side.  Awesome!

Great egret
 And this spotted sandpiper was on the mudflat.  It actually started out where the night herons often hang out, and I got to see it fly over to the mudflat.

Spotted sandpiper
 It was really quite a stroll!  :-)

Spotted sandpiper


Another pretty day, another pretty walk!  I started by circling the pond (2 black-crowned night herons, a red-tailed hawk flying over, a couple of common yellow-throats) and visiting the oriole's nest.  It was still there, looking just fine.
Baltimore Oriole's nest
 One of the oriole's came over and spent some time preening nearby, happily basking in the sun after the rain of the past few days.
Baltimore Oriole
 Up to the ramble, where it was quiet until I got to the point.  I love the coy attitude of this female common yellow-throat, with the classic over-the-shoulder glance.
Common Yellowthroat (female)
 My first blackpoll warbler of the season!  I also saw a Northern parula, a Canada warbler, a few redstarts, and a mystery warbler.  Actually looking at the book, the mystery warbler was likely a female magnolia.  I wish I had gotten a better look at it and a decent picture!
Blackpoll Warbler
 By the beehive this oriole showed off its hopping ability.
Baltimore Oriole
 A bit further around was a cluster of happiness.  This female black-throated blue.........
Black-throated Blue Warbler (female)
 .... and this yellow-rump along with a couple of redstarts tried to distract me from........
Yellow-Rumped Warbler
 .... waxwings!  I was so glad to see these guys again.
Cedar Waxwing
 On the way home, these starling chicks almost fell out of their cavity in their eagerness for a feeding. Looks like they are about ready to fledge.  :-)
European Starlings

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The day I found the oriole's nest

Another gorgeous day!  We decided to stay closer to home, and just wander around near the pond for a while.  We entered on 6th Ave and went up to the gazebo, and right away I spotted an oriole's nest!  I'm so happy to find this.  Both parents were around, they were very active, zooming all over the place, and coming back to the nest occasionally.  The nest is very well-placed, when a parent is there I couldn't see them at all.

Baltimore Oriole's Nest
 Over to the pond, where the red-winged blackbird is back in his tree.

Red-winged Blackbird
Canada Goose with Goslings
 The wood duck is no longer quite in his finest costume.  Looking a tiny bit motley.
Wood Duck

This eastern kingbird flew around a few times for us.
Eastern Kingbird
 Back to check on the orioles, and Jack found this Wilson's nearby.  We didn't see many warblers today, so this was definitely a treat.
Wilson's Warbler
 One of the parents singing near the nest.
Baltimore Oriole

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The day the egret flew right to us

What a day!  The weather was gorgeous, and Jack and I spent a good chunk of the day in the park.  It was pretty glorious!  Almost as soon as we got to the lake we saw a black-crowned night heron.  A bit further along we saw a Canada warbler flitting about like it had enjoyed way too much coffee.  This common yellow-throat was even watching it, looking amazed at its energy.  :-)

Common Yellow-throat
 Someone came by to explain that they were a birder too, and kept talking as I pointed out the Baltimore Oriole..........
Baltimore Oriole
 .... and pair of northern parulas that were right above us.  Not looking at the birds.  Too busy explaining how they were a birder.  It was...... unusual.
Northern Parula
 There were plenty of black-throated blues today.
Black-throated Blue Warbler (female)
 How handsome!  This one is going to be quite popular with the ladies.
Black-throated Blue Warbler
 It felt like a pair of black-and-whites were following us around all day.  Literally every time we stopped for a moment, there would be one there.
Black-and-white Warbler
 A couple of chestnut-sided warblers made very brief appearances.  They seem to regard my camera as an opponent in a sport.  They come over until I raise the camera, then the race is on!
Chestnut-sided Warbler
 This red-eyed vireo needed a bath and a drink.  I'm starting to be able to see the shape differences between a vireo and a warbler, hopefully it's not just my imagination.
Red-eyed Vireo
 A pair of Nashville warbler were quite high up, showing off their acrobatic skill.
Nashville Warbler
 This flicker disappeared into a large cavity in this dead tree shortly after I snapped this picture.  I'll have to go back and check it out, maybe they will nest there.
Northern Flicker
 Does the guy in the rowboat see the Wilson's?  So cute in his cap.
Wilson's warbler
 Another Canada, this one at normal Canada speed, not super-caffeinated like the earlier one.
Canada Warbler
 A redstart posed at several angles, making sure I got his good side.
American Redstart
 Jack found an indigo bunting!  He said he saw a sparrow in blue light making it look funny, and there it was, being gorgeous!  It was my best look yet at an indigo bunting.  Thanks Babe.  :-)
Indigo Bunting
 Jack had made some snarky comment about not seeing an egret in a tree in the park yet.  So on our way out, as we made a last loop around the upper lobe, I saw an egret flying.  It circled closer.  And closer still.  And it came right over and landed, I am not making this up, in a tree about 10 feet from Jack's head.  It was hilarious and awesome!  A great ending to a great day.
Great egret