Monday, September 17, 2012

Gorgeous fall day in the park

Today I was planning something I usually didn't do - going to the park hoping to see one specific bird that had been reported.  OK, I was really hoping for 2 - a whippoorwill and a bittern!  Both very secretive and hard to find, but I figured, well, why not?  So off I went.

The park was not too bird-y, although there were lots of thrushes.  At the upper lobe I waited around for a while and did see this pretty hummingbird, along with a little maggie and red-eyed vireo.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
This flicker came by, seemed willing to accept my presence until I took a step in any direction, and then got flustered.
Northern Flicker

This handsome rose-breasted grosbeak is getting into his finery, he posed for a minute to make sure I got the full benefit of his new colors.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak

And I was very exited to see this brown thrasher!  Turned out to be one of many.  I remember a day last year that was just filled with thrashers everywhere, and today did not match that day, but it was still surprising to see so many of them.
Brown Thrasher

On my way to the streamlet this house wren made me smile.
House Wren

I saw this northern parula from a distance, although in this photo it looks like he wants to be closer!
Northern Parula

At the mudflat was a northern waterthrush, even coming onto a branch in the sun for me.  Thanks buddy!
Northern Waterthrush

Then I was close to the location reported for the whippoorwill, and I managed to get directions to it.  Luckily someone was there looking at it, otherwise I'm not sure I would have found it, even knowing the small area to look in.  But find it I did, through the method of following another birder's directions!  I stayed until another guy came up and gave him directions, made sure he saw the bird, and then figured my duty was done.  Next, to the castle!

On the way there, in the field to the right of the ramble shed, I saw this common yellowthroat in the grass.  Like, in the middle of the field, not close to the bushes!  It was funny, just a bunch of robins and this teeny fellow.
Common Yellowthroat

And, of course, thrushes all around, getting those delicious berries.
Swainson's Thrush

And a red-breasted nuthatch came by!
Red-breasted Nuthatch

I went to the end of turtle pond by the statue and on the way saw this mystery flycatcher hunting, hopefully eating up lots of mosquitos.  I love this picture even though it is not helpful in figuring out what kind of flycatcher it is.  :-)
Mystery Flycatcher

I searched as well as I could, but I could not find that bittern.  I headed up to the castle, seeing this pretty black-and-white along the way.
Black-and-white Warbler

Up at the castle I looked again for the bittern, and I saw something heron-like and brownish fly into a specific spot on the island.  I did not get my camera on the bird, and I could not find it after it landed. But I'm sure I saw something fly in there.......... Well, that's about as close as I got to the bittern.  I also didn't see any migrating raptors.  One red-tailed hawk soared over me for a while, which consoled my in my bittern failure.  I was sorely in need of cheering up.  To the oven!

The oven did not disappoint.  Several hummingbirds, several swordfights, lots of photo ops.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

A common yellowthroat female and 4 or 5 rose-breasted grosbeaks rounded things out nicely.  This female is showing off her yellow armpits.  Who doesn't want fancy armpits?
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Female)

I decided to get one more look at that whippoorwill but it was more crowded, there were several photographers including one grumpy man.  I heard a little of what he had to say and decided to leave.  On my way out, a pretty mystery warbler brightened my day and this juvenile black-crowned night heron felt like it completed my walk.  What a day!  :-)
Black-crowned Night Heron (Juvenile)

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