Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A bright spot on a beautiful day

What a gorgeous day!  Absolutely perfect weather.  Wonderful day for the AMNH walk!  Not a lot of birds though.  Well, except for the hordes of these guys:

yellow-rumped warbler
 And these guys, who seemed like they wanted to dive-bomb us a couple of times:
palm warbler
 Other than that, pretty quiet.  But there was a particularly bright spot.  This guy was taken to rehabbers and released a day or two ago, and he's been the talk of the park ever since.

prothonetary warbler
I love this picture even though it's not very sharp, with just a little stipe of sunlight.  Wow!
prothonetary warbler
 He was pretty confiding.  In this shot you can see that part of his upper mandible (beak) is missing.

prothonetary warbler
  That was all we had time for on the walk, so afterwards I headed over to the oven hoping to find a green heron I had heard some rumors about.  It turns out this was a spectacularly easy bird to find.

green heron
 Look how gorgeous!!!!!
green heron
 Back at the upper lobe, this egret was in the middle of swallowing an impressive fish.
great egret
 It's not going down easy.
 That was all we had time for on the walk, 

 And this parula came by, my first of the season!  So a day not filled with huge numbers of birds, but filled with wonderful sightings of gorgeous birds.  And then I had to high-tail it home or be late for the rest of my day.
northen parula

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The warblers are here! Yay!

Today was another of the spring walks with AMNH, and this one was very satisfying, warbler-wise.  On my way to meet the group I saw a few yellow-rumps and palms, do I figured it would be a good day.  And it was!

One lone night heron in what I have come to think of as the night heron tree.  If this trend continues, that name won't last.  But look how cute!  It looks sort of between juvie and adult plumage, and a little sleepy.  :-)

black-crowned night heron

There were a few fancy sparrows, swamp sparrows in several locations, chipping at the feeders, and a song sparrow on my way out.  And hermit thrushes were everywhere.  Like, really, everywhere.  And still plenty of ruby-crowned kinglets.  But the focus for me today was - warblers!  We saw lots of palm warblers.
palm warbler
 Oh, and there were lots of gnatcatchers too!  They don't seem to want pictures.  This was typical.
blue-grey gnatcatcher
 Back to warblers!  Yes, it's a warbler.  Yes, thrush is right there in the name, but it's not a thrush.  Just one reason birding is..... unkind to beginners.
northern waterthrush
 A yellow warbler being shy, peeking out from behind a lacy curtain.  Hello, gorgeous!
yellow warbler
 Black and white acrobatics.  There were a few of these around, I have missed them!
black-and-white warbler
 Today's star was the prairie warbler, all the birders in the park were excited about this one.
prairie warbler
 Oh, yeah, there were hawks too!  It's been ages since I've seen a Cooper's hawk so I was especially thrilled to see this guy.  He went by us like he was on a one-way mission, but then circled back. I'm starting to see its silhouette as obviously different from a red-tail, so that's progress.  Wish I could get more practice with this!  :-)
Cooper's hawk
 And the most populous warbler of the day, showing off how it got its name.
yellow-rumped warbler

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bryant Park nightjar

Today Jack and I went on Gabe Willow's guided walk in Bryant Park, hoping to see the nightjar.  And it totally worked!  There were a few fancy sparrows, but we all really just wanted to get to this guy.  We got several different angles, this was definitely the best.  What a treat!  It's hilarious to see birds like this in little Bryant Park.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

AMNH spring walk, this time with field sparrows!

Feeling more spring-y all the time!  It was a little dreary today with the clouds, but the temperature was quite nice, as were the birds.

On the way up to meet the group, I enjoyed watching a group of 6 cormorants swimming around together, catching things, and generally being gorgeous.  It helped that I had to look past a kinglet to do it.  Ah, the riches of spring!  Then I saw the coot sitting out on a rock so I got to see it's feet, I'm a little heartbroken that the pictures didn't come out.  Coots have amazingly awesome feet!

double-crested cormorant

Met up with the group, and we started seeing cool stuff right away.  We saw the first common yellow-throat of the year, and as usual he eluded my camera.  Beautiful little guy though.  Lots of black-crowned night herons.  And some fancy sparrows.
song sparrow

Every time I see a towhee my day gets better.
eastern towhee
 Today's star at the feeders was this purple finch.
purple finch
 And this yellow-rump, which did not stay around very long at all!  What a tease.
yellow-rumped warbler
 This rusty blackbird was by the oven.  He doesn't know he's famous.
rusty blackbird
 This cormorant has more fish than it can handle.  It had to let this big fellow go, couldn't manage the swallowing of it.
double-crested cormorant
 This heron wants a chance at it!
black-crowned night heron
 Making our way back we saw a house wren, and when trying to relocate the wren we saw these field sparrows!
field sparrow
 A kinglet saw us off, meeting us briefly at the upper lobe bridge.
ruby-crowned kinglet
 As usual I have a post-group bird, this time a brown creeper.  And this one allowed a picture, which is rare indeed!
brown creeper

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring has (partly) sprung

Warning: no pictures!

Today was the second AMNH spring walk, and it was 45 degrees and a tiny bit rainy.  It did not feel like the quintessential spring day........ but the birding was great!  I took a quick look at the upper lobe overlook spot before meeting the group, and I found 3 black-crowned night herons in a tree, 2 cormorants circling around and then swimming in the lake, and the usual suspects.  I also saw a woodpecker that I thought was a hairy, and I got all excited when I saw a little yellow bird which turned out to be a goldfinch.

With the group, we saw all of that and more!  We saw several flickers, mostly flying around.  I love to see them fly!  I mean, yes, they are gorgeous when they are sitting still.  But I just love that flash of yellow under their wings!  It actually turned out to be a 5 woodpecker day - flickers, red-bellied, downy, hairy, and sapsucker.  I love it!  We also saw a couple of male towhees working out a territorial dispute, a pine warbler trying to blend in with kinglets, a kinglet trying to blend in with chickadees........ Oh, and a palm warbler!

It turned out to be a great walk, although I am very much looking forward to some warmer days.....