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Sunday, March 21, 2004

Prospect Park with Sean S.

I arrived at the nest at 10:30 and it appeared to be empty. I knew from previous years that when the much smaller "Split-tail" was sitting on the nest that he was difficult to see so I tried looking from a few different angles. The west wind was roaring over Payne Hill and the nest tree was swaying from side to side. When I stood upwind of the tree I could see the brown feathers on the top of Split-tail's head fluttering in the wind. At about 11:20 Big Mama flew in from the south and made a tight, swooping turn above the nest, tucked her wings in and made a hard landing in the tree. Her mate must have been hungry because he didn't linger at the nest and quickly departed. Big Mama stepped into the nest but kept her head down for a couple of minutes as if she were examining its contents. She gently eased her body down into the nest then settled down for her turn on the eggs.

I noticed some more seasonal changes in the park today. Along Wellhouse Drive the Magnolia trees are now adorned with green, velvet covered buds. As more insects have emerged the number of arriving Eastern Phoebes has increased, as well. Three days ago I counted only one of these small flycatchers, today there were twelve. Lately Peter D. has been asking me where the heck all the kinglets are; he can finally stop asking as I counted about 20 Golden-crowned Kinglets today. Oddly, one flock was moving south through the trees near the Picnic House. I tried pointing them the other way but they wouldn't listen.

Also new for the season was an Osprey being chased by Split-tail above the Long Meadow. Its whistling cry drew my attention as the much larger bird was clearly intimidated by our local red-tail. Finally, Sean spotted our first Tree Swallow of the spring as it surfed the high winds blowing across the lake.
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Prospect Park, 3/21/2004
Pied-billed Grebe (2, upper Lullwater.)
Turkey Vulture (3.)
Wood Duck (1.)
Northern Shoveler (Abundant.)
Ring-necked Duck (5, Upper pond. 5, Prospect Lake.)
Hooded Merganser (5, Prospect Lake.)
Ruddy Duck
Osprey (Chased by Red-tailed over Long Meadow.)
Red-shouldered Hawk (Peninsula, flying towards Lookout Hill.)
Red-tailed Hawk (2.)
Merlin (Female, Long Meadow by Tennis House.)
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Payne Hill.)
Eastern Phoebe (12; 2, Payne Hill. 1, Lookout. 1, Breeze Hill. 4, Lullwater. 2, Pagoda Pond. 2, Midwood.)
Tree Swallow (Over Prospect Lake.)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (2, Lookout Hill.)
White-breasted Nuthatch (2, Lullwater.)
Brown Creeper (edge of Upper pond.)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Approx. 20, Picnic House area & Lullwater.)
Fox Sparrow (~10.)
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Common Grackle
American Goldfinch (Approx. 12, Lullwater & Rick's Place.)

Other resident species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker (2.), Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker (Midwood.), Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee (1.), Tufted Titmouse (3.), American Robin, European Starling, Song Sparrow (Common.), Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow

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