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Friday, March 26, 2004

Prospect Park with Eileen

When I first entered the park I spotted Split-tail as I was walking across the Long Meadow towards the Ravine. He circled the Sparrow Bowl a couple of times, gaining altitude. Then he gained some serious attitude and attacked another Red-tailed Hawk perched near the Tennis House. He practically knocked the other bird out of the tree. I didn't spend much time watching the Red-tailed Hawk nest today. I stayed just long enough to observe Split-tail and Big Mama exchanging places on their eggs. I decided, instead, to look for migrating Pine Warblers.

The weather and timing seemed right and I got lucky, spotting my first Pine Warbler of the spring. It was a textbook male in brilliant, breeding plumage - olive green back, bright yellow throat & breast and broad, bright white wingbars. His slow foraging in the trees along Breeze Hill and near the Terrace Bridge was an interesting contrast to the hyperactive feeding frenzy of a flock of tiny Golden-crowned Kinglets in his company.

At first I was very excited about seeing my first incoming warbler but then I began to feel a little anxious. I spend a lot of time alone in the woods observing the hawks. I think my anxiety is born of an unrealistic desire to protect "my" forest from the impending onslaught of human activities. During the winter months, especially during week days, Prospect Park seems virtually deserted. The millions of New Yorkers that surround the park are almost invisible. Like clockwork, though, the peaceful solitude of the winter woods will soon explode not only with birds and song, but also people. I'm not a curmudgeon (at least, not much) I just get disillusioned sometimes seeing all the damage that some folks inflict on the park year after year. Is it possible to teach people to tread more lightly?
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Prospect Park, 3/26/2004 - 11:30am to 1:30pm
Pied-billed Grebe (Prospect Lake.)
Double-crested Cormorant (Prospect Lake.)
Great Egret (Prospect Lake.)
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Prospect Lake.)
Northern Shoveler (Prospect Lake.)
Ring-necked Duck (5, Upper Pond. 4, Prospect Lake.)
Bufflehead (3, Upper pond.)
Hooded Merganser (2, Prospect Lake.)
Ruddy Duck (Prospect Lake.)
Turkey Vulture (Soaring over Peninsula.)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Immature, Breeze Hill.)
Red-tailed Hawk (3.)
Killdeer (Long Meadow.)
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Payne Hill.)
Northern Flicker (~10.)
Eastern Phoebe (3, Payne Hill. 2, Lullwater. 2, Long Meadow. 1, Upper pond.)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Lullwater.)
White-breasted Nuthatch (2, Lookout Hill.)
Brown Creeper (Breeze Hill.)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (~20, Terrace Bridge/Breeze Hill area.)
Hermit Thrush (Payne Hill.)
Pine Warbler (Terrace Bridge/Breeze Hill area.)
Fox Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco (Abundant.)
American Goldfinch (~20.)

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

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