Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Autumn Arrives

Since today is the Autumnal Equinox it seemed quite fitting that this morning was my best experience of the fall migration in Prospect Park. We've been seeing migrating land birds dribbling through the park for some time but this morning there appeared to be a nice movement of mixed flocks. The best bird of the morning for Shane and I was a talkative Yellow-breasted Chat near the Terrace Bridge at the start of the Peninsula. The brilliant, yellow bird was foraging within a stretch of hillside dotted with white asters.

Yellow-breasted Chat photographed in Bryant Park

(Photo credit - Dave Klang)

The flock that included the chat fed in that area for much of the early morning. The Butterfly Meadow, on Lookout Hill, contained many Common Yellowthroat, Wilson's Warbler, hummingbird, goldfinches and a small flock of White-throated Sparrows. The area on Center Drive near the stream also had a lot of activity, as did the Ravine. On the Peninsula we spotted 3 Indigo Buntings and I saw 2 more near the Sparrow Bowl on my way out.

Trailing along with the flocks of songbirds was at least one Sharp-shinned Hawk and a Merlin. I spotted "Big Mama" soaring over Prospect Lake, then dropping down into the woods of Lookout Hill. I also noticed one of the juvenile Red-tailed Hawks near the cemetery. With the arrival of some migrating raptors I look forward to seeing some interesting aerial dogfights with our local red-tails.

There are continuing northwest winds forecast for tonight so I expect that we'll be seeing more good birds tomorrow.

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Prospect Park, 9/22/2004
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Wood Duck
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Merlin
Monk Parakeet
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Red-eyed Vireo
Red-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Winter Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Swainson's Thrush
Wood Thrush
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Palm Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Scarlet Tanager
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Chipping Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
American Goldfinch

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

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