Saturday, September 24, 2005

Northeast Winds

A cold front moving through New York helped make today one of the most active days of the fall migration. It seemed like all of Prospect Park was bustling with birds. The Peninsula in the park appeared to be the best spot for uncommon birds. Seen by several individuals over the course of a few hours was a Yellow-breasted Chat, a Connecticut Warbler and a Dickcissel.

The chat was located by Shane Blodgett and Mary Eyster in the underbrush near the water beneath the Terrace Bridge. Later, when several people converged next to the weedy, fenced-in area at the east end of the meadow, a Connecticut Warbler was sighted. It was relocated later, after we had left...we'll, when we were trying to leave. Shane caught a glimpse of an unusual sparrow feeding within the mugwort at the west end of the meadow. We waited out the bird for probably thirty minutes until it finally perched on the steel fencing that "protects" the mugwort. It was a Dickcissel, along with some House Sparrows, nibbling on the tops of the grass, smartweed and other seed-bearing plants. This is the same spot that Sean and I found one last year on October 5th.

Mary and I also witness an unusual bird/insect interaction. While we stood at the Sparrow Bowl scanning the sparrows that were present something began flying towards us. A Chestnut-sided Warbler was pursuing a very large, green thing that seemed to have streamers trailing behind its body. The hunter and hunted passed very close to us at eye level then dropped to the ground. I looked through my bins to see the hungry warbler pecking at and attempting to eat a katydid. My mother used to say, "Your eyes are bigger than your stomach". In this particular case I'd say his meal is bigger than his head. I tried crawling over to take a photo. The katydid ultimately took off and the warbler began walking towards me. His eyes are definitely much bigger than his stomach if he was checking me out.

Chestnut-sided Warbler and katydid

Sorry about the poor quality but you can see the size comparison
(Photo credit - Rob J)

True Katydid (Pterophylla camellifolia )

(Photo credit - Steve Nanz)

-Click here to listen to a katydid-

While standing at the Sparrow Bowl I began lamenting the symbolic passing of summer. Dark-eyed Juncos and White-throated Sparrows foraged along the uncut grass at the edges of the field. Recently arriving on the north winds, many will spend the winter in the park then depart in the spring.

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Prospect Park, 9/24/2005
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Northern Shoveler
Cooper's Hawk (Ravine.)
Red-tailed Hawk (Adult and juvenile soaring over Lookout Hill.)
Merlin (Flying over Breeze Hill.)
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (2 or 3.)
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee (1, Near Nethermead Arches.)
Eastern Phoebe (Several.)
Red-eyed Vireo (Fairly common.)
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch (1, Peninsula.)
House Wren (2 or 3.)
Winter Wren (1, Peninsula.)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Fairly common.)
Hermit Thrush (1, next to Esdale Bridge.)
Wood Thrush (1, next to Esdale Bridge.)
Cedar Waxwing (Several flyovers.)
Nashville Warbler (4.)
Northern Parula (3 or 4.)
Chestnut-sided Warbler 2.)
Magnolia Warbler (Several.)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (Common.)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (1.)
Black-throated Green Warbler (3.)
Palm Warbler (Common.)
Blackpoll Warbler (2.)
Black-and-white Warbler (4.)
American Redstart (Approx. 8-10.)
Ovenbird (2.)
Connecticut Warbler (Peninsula, weedy area at east end of meadow.)
Common Yellowthroat (Common.)
Wilson's Warbler (1, weedy area at east end of meadow.)
Scarlet Tanager (Common.)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting (Approx. 12 between Peninsula Meadow & Sparrow Bowl.)
Dickcissel (Feeding with House Sparrows at West end of Peninsula meadow.)
Chipping Sparrow (Approx. 20, Sparrow Bowl.)
Savannah Sparrow (1, Sparrow Bowl.)
Lincoln's Sparrow (1, Sparrow Bowl.)
Swamp Sparrow (2.)
White-throated Sparrow (Several, Sparrow Bowl.)
Dark-eyed Junco (Approx. 6., Sparrow Bowl.)
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole

Other common birds seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow (1.), American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow

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