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Sunday, May 08, 2005

More flowers and a nest surprise

The songbird migration continues to pick up steam. Despite all the bird activity in the park today my wife and I decided to take a morning walk over to the botanic gardens. We wanted to check out the cherry blossoms, some more of the recent blooms, plus, I needed to give my aching “birding neck” a little bit of a break. I mostly just listened to the warbler songs as we walked across the park towards Flatbush Avenue.

Cherry petal flurries
(Photo credit - Rob J)

Cherry petals over walkway lighting
(Photo credit - Rob J)

Strong winds had the Kanzan Cherry trees creating fantastic pink snow showers. Small children (and “some“ adults) collected piles of petals and tossed them into the wind. The border gardens at the lily ponds were dotted with tulips, Forget-me-nots and pansies.

Some flowers at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

Pansy "Sorbet Antique Shades"
(Photo credit - Rob J)

Garden Forget-Me-Nots
(Photo credit - Rob J)

Beach Plum (Prunus maritima)
(Photo credit - Rob J)

Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra spectabilis)
(Photo credit - Rob J)

American Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
(Photo credit - Rob J)

Slippery Elms and American Elms are now adorned with pale green samaras. White-throated Sparrows, which are normally found foraging in the leaf litter, are now feasting on the abundant elm fruits high in the treetops. Flocks of chattering American Goldfinches also seem to be enjoying the windfall harvest.

American Elm (Ulmus americana) samaras

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) samara

(Photo credit - Rob J)

The biggest surprise of the season for me was the news of a pair of nesting gnatcatchers. Paul Keim mentioned seeing a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher with nest material near the Midwood. Later in the day I received a call from Steve Nanz who was watching the pair at their nest. I believe that this is the first time a pair of these tiny, hyperactive songbirds have nested in Brooklyn.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) in nest

(Photo credit - Steve Nanz)

-Click to learn more about Blue-gray Gnatcatchers-

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BBG & Prospect Park, 5/8/2005
Red-tailed Hawk
Chimney Swift
Northern Flicker
Blue-headed Vireo
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Prairie Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Waterthrush
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch

Other resident species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Tufted Titmouse, American Robin, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow

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