Tuesday, May 11, 2004


(Photo credit - Steve Nanz)

Prospect Park songbird fallout with Shane B.

Last night's severe thunder storms must have forced flocks of migrating birds out of the sky as Prospect Park suddenly had a tremendous increase in song bird populations. Large numbers of Common Yellowthroats were flitting about everywhere and it seemed like we had to avoid stepping on Ovenbirds. In lower numbers but still pretty common were Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler and, surprisingly, Northern Waterthrush.

Thrushes were also observed is large numbers with Veery topping the list and Swainson's Thrush coming in a close second. With the arrival of mixed flocks of thrushes I used the opportunity to try and call out a Bicknell's Thrush. I realized that my chance of finding one was slim to none but I figured I had nothing to lose. I played an endless loop of Bicknell's songs and calls in the Midwood. At one point a gray-cheeked type thrush flew into a shrub near me, perched for a moment then took off. Since it never vocalized and I only had fleeting looks of the bird I really can't draw any conclusions, but it was a fun experiment.

I also had an interesting sighting near the waterfall at the upper pool. Mary Eyster spotted what appeared to be a female Baltimore Oriole above us. It was very dull and had extensive white on its belly, what Sibley's guide labels as a drab first year female. But here's the weird part, it had white wings! I've seen albinistic traits in various bird species but never something as uniquely uniform and beautiful. This brought up a question about semantics. I've heard people use the term "leucistic" to describe what I think is albinism in birds. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a definition for "leucistic" anywhere. Does anyone know what "leucistic" means and which term is the correct one to use for birds with respect to a lack of pigmentation?
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Prospect Park, 5/11/2004
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Double-crested Cormorant
Gadwall (Pair on Upper pool.)
Red-tailed Hawk (3.)
Spotted Sandpiper (4, edge of Peninsula.)
Ring-billed Gull
Chimney Swift
Northern Flicker
Least Flycatcher (Lookout Hill.)
Great Crested Flycatcher (2, Lookout Hill & Lullwater.)
Blue-headed Vireo (Several.)
Warbling Vireo (3 or 4.)
Red-eyed Vireo (Fairly common.)
Tree Swallow
House Wren (2 or 3,)
Marsh Wren (Phragmites near West Island.)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (1.)
Veery (Common.)
Swainson's Thrush (Fairly common.)
Wood Thrush (Several.)
Gray Catbird (Abundant.)
Nashville Warbler (4 or 5.)
Northern Parula (Common.)
Yellow Warbler (Fairly common.)
Chestnut-sided Warbler (Several.)
Magnolia Warbler (Common.)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (Common.)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Fairly common.)
Black-throated Green Warbler (A few.)
Prairie Warbler (2.)
Bay-breasted Warbler (Lookout Hill upper meadow.)
Blackpoll (Fairly common.)
Black-and-white Warbler (Common.)
American Redstart (Several.)
Ovenbird (Abundant.)
Northern Waterthrush (Common.)
Louisiana Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat (Abundant.)
Wilson's Warbler (2, Peninsula & Lower pool.)
Canada Warbler (3.)
Scarlet Tanager
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting (Lookout Hill.)
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow (Sparrow Bowl.) [Peter D., Mary E., Rob J.]
Swamp Sparrow (3.)
White-throated Sparrow
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole (Several.)
Purple Finch (2, Bald Cypress near Terrace Bridge.) [Rob J.]
American Goldfinch (Several.)

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, Tufted Titmouse, American Robin, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow


(Photo credit - Steve Nanz)

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