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Saturday, April 15, 2006

After the fog

Grape Hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

This morning’s foggy conditions precluded any dawn birding in Prospect Park. I checked the weather then went back to bed for another hour. When I finally headed out, at about 9:30am, I was amazed by the conditions. Here it is, April 15th, and it was nearly sultry, July weather outdoors. I think the mercury made it up to 80 degrees!

Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

The park’s landscape has changed rapidly. Forest edges are now highlighted with the pale-green of flowering maples. The oaks have yet to produce their long, yellowish catkins. Many, though, are now covered with short, oblong sprouts. At the Vale of Cashmere, Weeping Higan Cherry trees have begun to really show off their colors.

The bird landscape has changed only slightly since my visit on Wednesday. There are many more Yellow-rumped Warblers present and Golden-crowned Kinglet populations have dropped only to be replaced by Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Pine Warblers are still around in good numbers as are Palm Warblers. There’s a scattering of Eastern Towhees around the woods, all males (no “towshees”). On Prospect Lake there were four Laughing Gulls. We’ll be seeing them around now through to the fall migration. Also, a fair number of Ruddy Ducks remain on the lake near West Island.

We spotted a pair of raptor “kettles” circling as they slid north. However, I’m not so sure two birds qualify as a kettle. One was a pair of Cooper’s Hawks and the other was a Red-tailed Hawk with a Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Other botanical observations include Eastern Redbud and Common Spicebush beginning to bud, as well as, lots of Grape Hyacinth scattered around the park.

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

- - - - -

Prospect Park, 4/15/2006
Pied-billed Grebe (2, Prospect Lake.)
Double-crested Cormorant (1, flying over.)
Northern Shoveler
Ruddy Duck (~2 dozen remain on lake.)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (1.)
Cooper's Hawk (2.)
Red-tailed Hawk (2.)
American Coot
Laughing Gull (4, Prospect Lake.)
Hairy Woodpecker (1, Vale of Cashmere.)
Northern Flicker (Fairly common.)
Eastern Phoebe (Near boathouse.)
Barn Swallow (2, flying over lake.)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (2, Lookout Hill. 1, Vale of Cashmere.)
Carolina Wren (Lookout Hill.)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (3 or 4.)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (2.)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Common.)
Hermit Thrush (2.)
Brown Thrasher (2, Vale of Cashmere.)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Fairly common.)
Pine Warbler (Several.)
Palm Warbler (Fairly common.)
Eastern Towhee (3 or 4.)
Chipping Sparrow (1, Nelly's Lawn.)
Swamp Sparrow (3.)
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Common Grackle
House Finch (1, Nethermead Meadow.)
American Goldfinch

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


(Photo credit - Rob J)

I think this is Ailanthus budding, but I can't be sure.


nsc said...

your blog is really amazing. i was able to identify my first palm warbler today with your help. but i also really like how you've also included the changing flora. i've got plenty yet to learn. thanks!

Rob J. said...

It's my pleasure. I'm glad I can share my passion with others of like mind.

Exploring urban nature, birds, birdwatching, birding, hummingbirds, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, hawks, raptors, wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, environment, binoculars, spotting scope