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Thursday, August 26, 2004

Birding around Lookout Hill and the Peninsula with Sean

Common Green Darner (Anax junius)

-click to learn more about Green Darners-
(Photo credit - Rob J)

It's hard to believe that summer is almost gone. With a few exceptions, many of Prospect Park's breeding population have already dispersed and a few migrants are trickling into the woodlands. Catbirds remain in fairly large numbers in the understory's tangles and we spotted one young fledgling that is still far from independence. This was the first day in months that I didn't actually see one of our Red-tailed Hawks but I did hear a short call near the south side of Lookout Hill.

We located one small, mixed flock of migrant songbirds on Lookout Hill in and around the Butterfly Meadow. The foraging flock contained Red-eyed Vireo, Blue-winged Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat and Wilson's Warbler. There was also a House Wren hiding in the wildflowers who seemed annoyed by my squeaking calls and chattered a loud scolding.

Asiatic Day Flower (Commelina communis L.)

-click to learn more about Asiatic Day Flowers-
(Photo credit - Rob J)

On the Nethermead Meadow Sean spotted a Cicada Killer landing with a captured cicada. I bent down and parted the long grass so I could photograph it. Sean used his foot to hold the grass back and the giant wasp began climbing his leg, dragging its paralyzed prey. I later learned that the wasp wasn't interested in stinging Sean. When their prey is too heavy and they land short of their burrow they will climb an upright object to gain altitude to complete the flight. Even with that knowledge it's still a little unnerving to have a wasp that large climbing up your leg.

Sean is befriended by a Cicada Killer with prey in tow

-click to learn more about Cicada Killers-
(Photo credit - Rob J)

Eastern Kingbird perched in Oak tree

(Photo credit -Sean Sime)

Eastern Kingbirds usually nest in fair numbers around the waterways of Prospect Park and today I commented to Sean that we hadn't observed any around the lake or the Lullwater. Kingbirds remind me of the cranky old man that yells at kids playing in front of his house. The ill-tempered flycatcher will sit perched on a conspicuous branch in "his" tree then chatter loudly while chasing any bird that comes close. With that image in mind I was surprised to find a flock of kingbirds feeding in relative harmony at the edge of the lower pool. Elderberry shrubs in that location are heavy with fruit and the flycatchers were bingeing on the purple berries. Later in the afternoon Sean spotted a Great Crested Flycatcher joining in at the banquet.

Also of note today was my first Veery sighting of the southbound migration.

Great Crested Flycatcher feeding on Elderberry

(Photo credit - Sean Sime)

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Prospect Park, 8/26/2004
Green Heron (Upper Lullwater.)
Wood Duck (2, Upper Lullwater.)
Red-tailed Hawk (Heard from Lookout Hill.)
Laughing Gull
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Flyby near Bandshell.)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 80% (Heard calling on Quaker Ridge.)
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe (Upper pool.)
Eastern Kingbird (6-8, feeding on Elderberry at Lower pool.)
Warbling Vireo (Heard on Duck Is.)
Red-eyed Vireo (2, Lookout Hill. 1, Lower pool.)
Barn Swallow
House Wren (Butterfly Meadow.)
Veery (Lookout Hill.)
American Robin (Abundant.)
Gray Catbird (Abundant.)
Northern Mockingbird (2.)
Cedar Waxwing (Flock of approx. 20 on Peninsula.)
Blue-winged Warbler (2 or 3, Lookout Hill.)
Yellow Warbler (Lookout Hill.)
Magnolia Warbler (Lookout Hill.)
Black-and-white Warbler (2, Lookout Hill.)
American Redstart (4 or 5 between Lookout and Peninsula.)
Ovenbird (Peninsula.)
Northern Waterthrush (Peninsula.)
Common Yellowthroat (Lookout Hill.)
Wilson's Warbler (Lookout Hill.)
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole (1, Lookout Hill.)
House Finch (Lookout Hill.)
American Goldfinch (Lookout Hill.)

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


Anonymous said...

I jusr started birding this Spring and your blog has been really informative for me, thanks!

Rob J. said...

I'm glad I can help. Thanks for taking the time to write.


Marguerite said...

Fantastic pictures as usual. The cicada killer is amazing. I've never seen a real one.

Thanks for a great blog. Love coming here and seeing your pictures.

Rob J. said...

It's my pleasure. I love sharing the things that excite me. Thanks for taking the time to comment.


Scott said...

those are some beautiful photographs!

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