Thursday, September 16, 2004

A Grey Morning in Prospect Park with Sean and John

I suppose we could have picked a better day for some early morning birding in Prospect Park. There was virtually no wind, and a thick, grey cloud covering made identifying tree top birds nearly impossible. We take what the weather gods hand us and we managed to eek out ten species of warbler and a single Chipping Sparrow.

Worm-eating Warbler eating a worm

(Photo credit - Steve Nanz)

We followed the wooded spine of the park and walked from the Butterfly Meadow at the south end up to the Vale of Cashmere near the north entrance. The few small flocks that we did encounter were moving quickly and feeding high in the trees. One highlight was watching a perched Worm-eating Warbler as it took a break from feeding to preen itself. Unlike most of the other warblers with their bold plumage statements, I've always enjoyed the subtle elegance of the worm-eating. Their understated buffy, earth tones and bold, black head lines that point like arrows to its long, spiky bill make them distinctive among their Parulidae relatives. True individuals.

Worm-eating Warbler foraging on the ground

(Photo credit - Steve Nanz)

At the Sparrow Bowl we scanned a large flock of feeding House Sparrows for anything different. Among the large, rounded birds was one juvenile Chipping Sparrow. The slim, spizella sparrow easily disappeared behind the other birds but its general rufus coloration and fine streaking was fairly easy to relocate. I think it may be the first fall chipping for the park.

The sky eventually cleared but it was just in time for us to leave the park and go to work. On the way out we spotted a trio of Monk Parakeets flying around the west side of the park. They perched briefly near the 9th Street entrance. I saw them perched again near the 5th Street entrance then they flew down my block and perched on an antenna across the street from my apartment. I felt like they were following me. After a moment they flew off in a southeast direction. I spoke with Sean later and he said that a flock of three Monk Parakeets flew over him on 7th Avenue. Weird.

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Prospect Park, 9/16/2004
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Wood Duck (male and female, lower pool.)
Monk Parakeet (3, circling west side of park.)
Belted Kingfisher (2, Ravine.)
Northern Flicker
Red-eyed Vireo (2, Sparrow Bowl.)
Carolina Wren (Heard near Litchfield Villa.)
House Wren (Sparrow Bowl.)
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird (4.)
Cedar Waxwing
Tennessee Warbler (Next to Upper Pool.)
Northern Parula (3 or 4, Rick's Place.)
Chestnut-sided Warbler (4-6; Center Drive, Rick's Place, Payne Hill.)
Black-throated Green Warbler (Center Drive.)
Black-and-white Warbler (2, Sparrow Bowl.)
American Redstart (Fairly common.)
Worm-eating Warbler (Seen feeding at north end of Midwood and later on Payne Hill.)
Ovenbird (Payne Hill.)
Northern Waterthrush (Sparrow Bowl.)
Common Yellowthroat (Several.)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (2, North end of Midwood & Sparrow Bowl.)
Chipping Sparrow (Juvenile bird feeding with a flock of House Sparrows.)
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird (Sparrow Bowl.)
Baltimore Oriole (Aralia Grove.)
American Goldfinch (Flyovers.)

Other resident species seen (or heard):
Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker (2, Center Drive near Nethermead Arches.), Blue Jay, American Crow (2.), Black-capped Chickadee (Heard in Midwood.), Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, American Robin, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow

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