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Friday, September 10, 2004

Prospect Park with Shane and Elyse

Shane and I had tentatively agreed to meet in Prospect Park at dawn this morning. We both slept late, however, and I didn't get into the park until 8am. So much for planning. It was just as well, though, as migrating land birds were only seen in small, isolated pockets around the park. One of the most active locations was on the Peninsula near the "Thumb". A flock at that location consisted of a few Black-and-white Warblers, redstarts and four Yellow Warblers. There was also a pair of Downy Woodpeckers within the flock. When one of the woodpeckers landed next to me I grabbed my camera only to discover that I left the battery at home in the charger. It's for that reason that I'm only posting a couple of photos today, courtesy of my friend Steve.

We were both very surprised to hear the "pure sweet Canada Canada Canada" song of a White-throated Sparrow in the woods of the Peninsula. These chunky, round birds are common winter residents that don't usually arrive until later on in the fall. Their song usually makes me think of winter. I hope his early arrival isn't any kind of indication about this year's snowy season.

Elyse joined us while we were watching a flock of goldfinches feeding on the wildflowers on the Butterfly Meadow. An unidentified empidonax flycatcher was hawking for insects from an oak tree above the meadow. What I think was a Black Swallowtail (I can't believe I forgot the camera battery) was feeding on the purple flower clusters of a nearby Buddleia.

American Redstart

(Photo credit - Steve Nanz)

For a few hours we meandered around the woods and waterways at the south end of the park. When Shane departed Elyse and I continued north through the Midwood forest, Rick's Place and up to the ornamental ponds of the Vale of Cashmere. I think that American Redstart was the most common species seen today with Black-and-white Warbler coming in a close second.

Throughout the morning we never encountered any large numbers of migrants. I could be wrong but it seems like I've managed to miss a majority of the migrating songbirds. Perhaps they were moving on days when I had to work or rainy days when I stayed indoors. Maybe the numerous consecutive days of east winds had them traveling farther inland. Whatever the reason it seems like I've seen less southbound migrants so far this fall than during this period in previous years.

It's interesting to note that today was the first time in probably over a year that I didn't see or hear one of the resident Red-tailed Hawks. They are around, though, because my friend Peter spotted two on Lookout Hill this morning.

Canada Warbler

(Photo credit - Steve Nanz)

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Prospect Park, 9/10/2004
Green Heron (Duck Island.)
Wood Duck (3, upper Lullwater & Prospect Lake.)
Solitary Sandpiper (upper Lullwater.)
Chimney Swift (approx. 12, feeding over Prospect Lake.)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (2, Binnen Waters & edge of Quaker Ridge.)
Belted Kingfisher (Pagoda Pond.)
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee (Center Drive at Quaker Ridge.)
Least Flycatcher (Rick's Place.)
Great Crested Flycatcher (2, Butterfly Meadow & Lullwater.)
Warbling Vireo (2, Peninsula.)
Red-eyed Vireo (several.)
White-breasted Nuthatch (3 or 4.)
House Wren (Singing next to upper Pool.)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Quaker Ridge.)
Veery (Peninsula.)
Swainson's Thrush (Steps near Nethermead Arches.)
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Parula (4 or 5.)
Yellow Warbler (4, Peninsula.)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (Midwood.)
Black-throated Green Warbler (2, Peninsula & Vale of Cashmere.)
Blackpoll Warbler (Peninsula.)
Black-and-white Warbler (Fairly common.)
American Redstart (Fairly common.)
Ovenbird (Behind Maryland Monument.)
Northern Waterthrush (2, upper Lullwater.)
Common Yellowthroat (Several.)
Canada Warbler (Quaker Ridge.)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Female, Quaker Ridge.)
White-throated Sparrow (Singing on Peninsula!)
Common Grackle (A few.)
Baltimore Oriole (Quaker Ridge.)
House Finch (Several.)
American Goldfinch (approx. 15-20, Butterfly Meadow.)

Other resident species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker (several including juvenile on Peninsula.), Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker (Heard on Quaker Ridge.), Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, American Robin, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow

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