Wednesday, May 05, 2004


(Photo credit - Steve Nanz)

Prospect Park with Shane B. and Peter D.

Yesterday I spent about an hour at Big Mama's nest. I also took a quick look at the Ravine pine tree nest. I realized how spoiled I was in 2002 and 2003 when their nests were relatively close to the ground and had unobstructed views. Now that many of the trees surrounding the nests have sprouted leaves the Ravine nest is virtually impossible to see. Big Mama and Split-tail's is a bit more difficult to see but there are a few vantage points where I can still watch their activities. From 10am to 11am Big Mama was perched at the edge of the nest. Periodically she would look down into the nest and move her head from side to side as if she were counting her brood. I have no idea how many chicks there are but I think within a week they may be large enough to see their white, fuzzy heads.

Today I skipped the hawks and instead did some early morning birding. I started at the north end of the park at sunrise. As I walked across the Long Meadow I was surprised that by 5:30am the sun was already high enough that I could see clearly. Shane, Peter and I birded mostly the wooded areas with a quick stop at a recently drained section of the Lullwater. The temporary mudflat has attracted a lot of wading birds and a small selection of shorebirds.

The early morning is the best time to listen to the songbirds and as I type this report their whistles, trills and warbles are still ringing in my head. It was a very good morning for warblers. There still hasn't been a big fallout of migrants but we did experience the best day for songbird diversity in the park so far this season. The busiest section we encountered was a small stretch of woods at the north end of Sullivan Hill, across the road from Nelly's Lawn. Foraging for insects among the oak catkins were Yellow-throated Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Tennessee Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Pine Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Scarlet Tanager, Orchard Oriole and Baltimore Oriole. Another nice sighting today was two male Hooded Warblers, one in the Quaker Cemetery and another on Payne Hill.

It's also interesting to note that we observed numerous Common Loons flying north over the park.
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Prospect Park, 5/5/2004
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Common Loon (5 or 6, flyovers.)
Double-crested Cormorant (Flyover.)
Great Egret (8 in drained Lullwater, 1 flyover.)
Wood Duck (4 drakes on Duck Island.)
Turkey Vulture (Flying over Long Meadow.)
Red-tailed Hawk (4.)
Peregrine Falcon (Flying over Nethermead & Long Meadow.)
American Coot
Solitary Sandpiper (4, drained Lullwater.)
Spotted Sandpiper (3, drained Lullwater.)
Least Sandpiper (Flying out of Lullwater.)
Chimney Swift (Several.)
Northern Flicker
Eastern Kingbird (Nethermead.)
Yellow-throated Vireo (Woods on Sullivan Hill.)
Blue-headed Vireo (Payne Hill.)
Warbling Vireo (2, Peninsula. 1, Ravine.)
Red-eyed Vireo (Woods on Sullivan Hill.)
Tree Swallow (2. Upper pool, using nest box.)
Barn Swallow (Several, Upper pool.)
House Wren (2. Lookout Hill & Quaker Cemetery.)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Veery (Midwood.)
Swainson's Thrush (Vale of Cashmere.)
Hermit Thrush (Midwood.)
Wood Thrush (Several. Vale of Cashmere, Payne Hill & Midwood.)
Gray Catbird
Tennessee Warbler (Woods on Sullivan Hill.)
Nashville Warbler (2. Lookout Hill & Woods on Sullivan Hill.)
Northern Parula (Common.)
Yellow Warbler (Peninsula.)
Chestnut-sided Warbler (3. Payne Hill, woods on Sullivan Hill & Midwood.)
Magnolia Warbler (Payne Hill, Midwood.)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (Fairly Common.)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Abundant.)
Black-throated Green Warbler (Several.)
Pine Warbler (Very dull female, woods on Sullivan Hill.)
Prairie Warbler (2, Lookout Hill & Nethermead.)
Bay-breasted Warbler (Ravine above Boulder Bridge.)
Blackpoll Warbler (3, Midwood & woods on Sullivan Hill.)
Black-and-white Warbler (Common.)
American Redstart (2. Peninsula & woods on Sullivan Hill.)
Worm-eating Warbler (Vale of Cashmere at 6am.)
Ovenbird (Fairly common.)
Northern Waterthrush (2. Peninsula, Lookout Hill.)
Louisiana Waterthrush (2, Ravine below Nethermead Arches & Vale of Cashmere.)
Common Yellowthroat (Peninsula.)
Hooded Warbler (2. Quaker Cemetery & Payne Hill, both singing.)
Canada Warbler (Ravine.)
Scarlet Tanager (2. Lookout Hill & woods on Sullivan Hill.)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (2. Lookout Hill & Midwood.)
Indigo Bunting (Center Drive near Nethermead Arches.)
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole (Woods on Sullivan Hill.)
Baltimore Oriole (~10.)
American Goldfinch

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

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