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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

A quick run through the park

I made a quick run through Prospect Park at lunchtime. I followed my usual route from the Vale of Cashmere at the north end, through Battle Pass, Rick's Place, the Ravine and the Lullwater to the Peninsula and lake. Warbler numbers are still pretty low and, right now, juvenile robins are the only species taking advantage of the abundant black cherry harvest. There are probably thousands of the young, spotty thrushes in Prospect Park at the moment.

The most productive area for songbirds was at Rick's Place along the bridle path where I ran into Inara Schwartz enjoying the "show". A mixed flock feeding in the understory included Blue-winged Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Canada Warbler and Baltimore Oriole. A young Red-tailed Hawk was whinning somewhere behind us in the Midwood. When Split-tail and Big Mama landed in a Locust tree above the foraging songbirds all the wildlife seemed to disappear. The one exception was a grey squirrel slowly working his way through the dense pulp and hard shell of a black walnut fruit. His noisy gnawing on the outer shell created a mound of sawdust on the limb he was perched on. He was so focused on the task at hand that he would have been an easy target for the hawks.

Squirrel/walnut balancing act

(Photo credit - Rob J)

At the south end of the Nethermead Meadow a small puddle has formed at a bare patch in the grass. A Solitary Sandpiper snapped up insects in the temporary habitat. A second sandpiper tried to join in but was aggressively chased away. I guess that's why they're solitary.

Solitary Sandpiper in puddle on Nethermead

(Photo credit - Rob J)

At the water's edge on the Peninsula a Green Heron perched in a pile of orange, plastic fencing stood up straight, narrowed his profile and pointed his head skyward trying to become invisible. A passing pair of Red-tailed Hawk must have caused him concern, although I don't think the orange background helped his cause. Fortunately, the two hawks were more interested in circling and chasing each other. The smaller male would occasionally drop his feet as if he was about to land on her back.

Green Heron on roll of plastic fencing

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Split-tail and Big Mama playing

(Photo credit - Rob J)

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Prospect Park, 8/17/2004
Green Heron (Upper Lullwater.)
Wood Duck (Male, Lullwater.)
Red-tailed Hawk (3 adults, 3 juveniles.)
Solitary Sandpiper (2, Nethermead.)
Chimney Swift
Belted Kingfisher (Ambergil.)
Hairy Woodpecker (Ravine.)
Northern Flicker
Eastern Kingbird (Several.)
Red-eyed Vireo (1, Ravine. 1, Lower pool.)
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird (Several.)
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler (2, Rick's Place.)
Northern Parula (Ravine, seen by I. Schwartz.)
Yellow Warbler (Lullwater.)
Chestnut-sided Warbler (1, Aralia Grove. 1, Rick's Place.)
Blackburnian Warbler (Rick's Place.)
Black-and-white Warbler (1, Aralia Grove. 1, Rick's Place.)
American Redstart (1, Vale of Cashmere. 1, Aralia Grove. 1, Rick's Place.)
Northern Waterthrush (Aralia Grove.)
Canada Warbler (1, Vale of Cashmere. 1, Rick's Place.)
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole (Several.)

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, Black-capped Chickadee (Rick's Place.), Tufted Titmouse, American Robin, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow

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