Sunday, February 01, 2004

Prospect Park

Steve phoned me today to let me know that there was a Canvasback on Prospect Lake. A rare sighting in Prospect Park, it seems like the one-day-a-year visitor is always spotted by Steve! I tried to get him to admit that he keeps one in a bathtub at home and brings it out once a year but he wouldn't say a word.

Five Common Merganser were still present on the lake but by around 2pm they took off, flying in the direction of Green-wood Cemetery.

There was very little passerine activity along Quaker Ridge when I checked, most likely due to a female Merlin perched near the Nethermead Arches. Also of possible interest today was a single Cedar Waxwing feeding in a Viburnum (?) next to the upper pond. It was eating the shrub's dark orange berries and, when it had its back to me, I noticed something odd. The tip of the central tail feathers were orange instead of yellow. Some field guides say that the color variation is diet related so I guess it must be due to those orange berries it is eating.

I had an interesting observation yesterday. A group of us spotted a Red-tailed Hawk eating a rodent in a tree above the bridle path. The raptor had just begun to dine and was spending a considerable amount of time trying to eat the tail end first. I thought it was kind of funny that it decided to start at the back end of the rat instead of, say, the head, especially since it looked rather difficult. Then it occurred to me that here was an animal that truly "didn't give a rat's ass."
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Prospect Park, 2/1/2004
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American Wigeon (5.)
Northern Shoveler (Abundant.)
Canvasback (1, Prospect Lake. Rob J., Steve N., Arleen O.)
Common Merganser (Prospect Lake, 4 Drake, 1 hen.)
Ruddy Duck (15.)
Red-tailed Hawk (3 or 4.)
Merlin (Center Dr.)
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull (Abundant.)
Great Black-backed Gull
Fish Crow (5, flying south over lake.)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (2, Breeze Hill feeder.)
White-breasted Nuthatch (Breeze Hill feeder.)
Cedar Waxwing (In Viburnums next to upper pond.)
Fox Sparrow (3.)
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Rusty Blackbird (5, next to Three Sisters Is.)
American Goldfinch (3.)

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

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