Monday, October 10, 2005

Cool, damp and gray

Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Yesterday was the first day this season that truly felt like autumn. The wind had switched to the northeast and clouds finally deposited some much needed rain on a dehydrated city. Some of the last migrating songbirds were making their way through Prospect Park and I caught up with a mixed flock near the Terrace Bridge.

Sweetgum "stars" (Liquidambar styraciflua)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

I began my walk at the extreme north end of the park and ended it at the south end of Prospect Park in the wooded section of the Peninsula. I was hoping to locate one of our Red-tailed Hawks in the forest along the way but only caught a fleeting glimpse of one menacing the ducks on Prospect Lake. There was little to no bird activity until I reached the Terrace Bridge. At that location I noticed several birds foraging within a sprawling Turkey Oak on the east side of the bridge. A few minutes of scanning the tree and the grass below it turned up Red-bellied Woodpecker, Blue-headed Vireo, Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler and Common Yellowthroat. A stretch of grass farther up the hill was dominated by a small flock of Northern Flickers probing the rain softened ground.

Black Locust seed pods (Robinia pseudoacacia)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Honeylocust seed pods (Gleditsia triacanthos)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

I followed the flock as it slowly moved south towards the edge of the Lullwater. They eventually made their way across the water and onto the Peninsula. As I followed the activity towards the Peninsula woods I ran into a birder named Jim. He described a lot of songbird activity on the Peninsula earlier in the day. When I arrived the canopy was busy, mostly with Yellow-rumped Warblers, but there were also several birds darting across the path ahead of me. It was late in the day and the birds were busy filling up on insects before nightfall. I tallied another five species of warblers in these woods. I scanned the lake from the point and noticed that Northern Shovelers are beginning to congregate on the water. A small flock was whirling, face down, near the skating rink.

Chipmunks were also very busy today feeding and stashing food stores for the cold months. Throughout my walk I noted a number of the fearless, brown striped rodents collecting seeds, nuts and fruit that had fallen onto the park’s asphalt footpaths.

Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

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Prospect Park, 10/9/2005
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Double-crested Cormorant (2, Prospect Lake.)
Wood Duck (3, Upper pool. 1, Prospect Lake.)
Northern Shoveler (15-20, Prospect Lake.)
Red-tailed Hawk
Chimney Swift (15-20, over Long Meadow.)
Northern Flicker (Common.)
Eastern Phoebe (1, Peninsula.)
Blue-headed Vireo (1, Breeze Hill next to Terrace Bridge.)
Red-eyed Vireo (1, Peninsula.)
Brown Creeper (3, Breeze Hill next to Terrace Bridge.)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (6-8, Breeze Hill next to Terrace Bridge.)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (3.)
Gray Catbird
Northern Parula (3, Peninsula.)
Chestnut-sided Warbler (1, Peninsula.)
Magnolia Warbler (1, Peninsula.)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (fem. Peninsula.)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (20-30, Breeze Hill & Peninsula.)
Palm Warbler (6-8, Breeze Hill & Peninsula.)
Blackpoll Warbler (1, Breeze Hill next to Terrace Bridge.)
Black-and-white Warbler (3 or 4, Breeze Hill next to Terrace Bridge.)
American Redstart (1, Peninsula.)
Common Yellowthroat (4 or 5, Breeze Hill next to Terrace Bridge.)
Wilson's Warbler (1, Peninsula.)
Eastern Towhee (Near Fallkill Falls.)
White-throated Sparrow (Fairly common.)

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker (2.), Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee (2, Breeze Hill next to Terrace Bridge.), American Robin, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow

1 comment:

Dani said...

Sumac... love how it can have a rainbow of colors on one plant. Much more impressive than a burning bush, in my opinion. Great pic.

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