Saturday, February 07, 2004

Prospect Park

Some people may think it's crazy but I love tree squirrel vocalizations. They make a wide range of squeaks, squeals and chirps that mean nothing to humans but that I assume other animals can understand. There is one sound, however, that I recognize. It's a low volume, two-part "chuck squeal" that means, "I see you sitting there Mr. Hawk and you're not going to have a chance to eat me." When I was walking over Battle Pass today I heard that sound and began looking for the hawk. I couldn't find the hawk right away but when I located the squealing squirrel I just looked in the direction that he was facing. Two Red-tailed Hawks were perched directly above my head. Sitting shoulder to shoulder, they seemed to be involved in a staring contest with the squirrel. They eventually gave up and flew off after a rabbit near the entrance to the Midwood.

The flying hawks flushed up a nice mixed flock of birds near Rick's Place. They were mostly the expected winter species but it was nice to see the activity during an otherwise quiet, uneventful day. The rain and snow melt has created a few new ponds on the Nethermead and Long Meadow, attracting small flocks of ducks. On the Nethermead, two drake Gadwall circled then dropped in for a few minutes. One of the Gadwall's wing feathers were askew when he landed showing off a bronzy, orange patch in front of the speculum. I've never noticed it before today.

Also of note today was a single American Pipit calling while it circled above Breeze Hill and a female Red-breasted Merganser on Prospect Lake.
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Prospect Park, 2/7/2004
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Gadwall (2 drakes on Nethermead Meadow.)
Northern Shoveler
Red-breasted Merganser (female, Three Sisters Is. Seen by Steve N.)
Ruddy Duck
Red-tailed Hawk (4 adults, 1 imm.)
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (2.)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (2, Breeze Hill feeder.)
White-breasted Nuthatch (2.)
American Pipit (Circling above Breeze Hill.)
Chipping Sparrow (Breeze Hill feeder.)
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
American Goldfinch (15-20, Rick's Pl.)

Other resident species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose (200), Mute Swan (3), American Black Duck, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker (2), Blue Jay, American Crow (2), Black-capped Chickadee (3), Tufted Titmouse (5), American Robin, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow

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