Sunday, January 25, 2004

Prospect Park with Shale B., Marty S., Janet S., Gail and Ex

This winter's deep freeze continues to concentrate most of the bird activity in Prospect Park to a few locations. The single bird feeder on Breeze Hill and any south facing slopes with exposed patches of ground are the best spots to find the birds. Our winter Pine Warbler has been MIA from the Breeze Hill feeder for the last few days and I just hope that it found another source for food. Four Rusty Blackbirds continue to feed with a mixed flock of birds in the leaf litter on the slope behind the skating rink. Quaker Ridge, along Center Drive has also been a good spot and today I located one unexpected treat.

Starting in the late fall the park's Sweetgum trees were a magnet for flocks of goldfinches and a few siskins. As the majority of the finches moved on I noticed that the blackbirds and chickadees continued to try and extract every last morsel from the spiky balls. Now it seems like mostly chickadees and their acrobatic skills can find any food in these trees. Along Center Drive from the Quaker Cemetery to the Midwood, however, there are a number of sweetgums that still seem to attract a small number of goldfinches. While scanning a flock of about 8-10 goldfinches in a sweetgum above the bridle path I spotted a single male Common Redpoll. The flock took off before the whole group got on it but I managed to relocate it a few minutes later in another sweetgum within the Quaker Cemetery.

While walking towards the Nature Center with Steve and Heidi I noticed something odd. A small brown rodent, possibly a hamster, was sitting (apparently dead) on a manhole cover near the Binnen Waters. I pushed it with my boot to turn it over to see if it had a tail but, not only was it frozen solid, it was completely bonded to the steel cover. I had been seeing so much hawk activity throughout the day that the dead rodent conjured up a bizarre image in my mind. A red-tail sees the rodent, swoops in for the easy meal, grabs the immovable creature in its talons and ends up face down in the snow. Hey, it could happen...
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Prospect Park, 1/25/2004
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Cooper's Hawk (Immature, Breeze Hill. Rob J., Steve N., Heidi S.)
Red-tailed Hawk (3 adults, 1 immature.)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (4.)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (2.)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (2.)
White-breasted Nuthatch (2.)
Northern Mockingbird
American Tree Sparrow (Breeze Hill feeder.)
Chipping Sparrow (2; Breeze Hill feeder, 9th Street park entrance.)
Fox Sparrow (Approx. 12.)
White-throated Sparrow (Abundant.)
Dark-eyed Junco
Rusty Blackbird (4, Breeze Hill slope behind skating rink.)
Purple Finch (3 females, Quaker Ridge.)
House Finch (1.)
Common Redpoll (Male, feeding in sweetgums on Center Dr.)
American Goldfinch (Approx. 12.)

Other resident species seen (or heard):
Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow

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