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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Belated reports and photos

I haven't been keeping up with my postings so here are a couple of belated reports. I'll add some links and more information this week as time permits.

Storm over Ft. Tilden

(Photo credit - Rob J)

On Sunday I lead a trip for the Brooklyn Bird Club to some of Brooklyn's and Queens coastal habitats. What began as a fairly miserable, rainy day with threats of thunderstorms ended as a sunny, sultry afternoon. The rain slowed most bird activity to a near standstill but we still had a good time. One of the highlights was watching a Merlin harassing a kestrel over the grasslands of Floyd Bennett Field. The pugnacious Merlin eventually forced the kestrel to retreat to a low shrub at the edge of the field.

Sunday after the storm

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Porcelain Berries

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Forage Looper moth at Floyd Bennett Field

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Dog Stinkhorn mushroom

(Photo credit - Rob J)

What a difference a day makes.

Early this morning Shane, Sean and I drove over to Big Egg Marsh to try and relocate a Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow. Shane found the bird yesterday (Monday, 10/2) in the grassy area between the basketball courts and the bridge. We struck out on the sharp-tailed sparrow but, as a consolation prize, we found a Dickcissel in that area. At the opposite side of the recreation fields Sean spotted a Clay-colored Sparrow.

We eventually gave up trying to find the sharp-tailed and packed it in. Sean went home and Shane and I continued to Fort Tilden. One of the few remnants of untouched habitats at Tilden is a narrow stretch behind the baseball fields and parallel to Rockaway Point Boulevard. It’s a great habitat to find migrating sparrows. Within about 90 minutes of us searching the grass a Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow popped up in front of Shane and perched in a shrub. We both had nice, long looks at an overall, very gray individual of the maritime race (Ammodramus nelsoni subvirgatus). I could have ended my day right there having located three very good species. On our way back to the parking lot, though, I spotted a Blue Grosbeak perched on the fence that surrounds the community garden. It was associating with a flock of House Sparrows.

We were feeling lucky and decided to make a final stop at Floyd Bennett Field. At FBF we scanned the pilings at the end of Archery Road then walked the edges of the Cricket Field. It seemed like Savannah Sparrows were popping up everywhere we walked. A kestrel also noticed and vigilantly watched the Cricket Field from a high perch. Other than those sightings the only other sparrow of interest was a juvenile White-crowned Sparrow.

American Kestrel

(Photo credit - Rob J)

It was gratifying to see that Monarch Butterflies were still migrating in very good numbers. They were passing us in fits and starts all day. At one point I counted 20 passing my field of view within 10 seconds. I haven’t seen such an abundance in many years. There were also large numbers of Red Admirals at Big Egg Marsh.

Red Admiral

(Photo credit - Rob J)

- - - - -

Big Egg Marsh; Ft. Tilden; Floyd Bennett Field, 10/3/2006
Common Loon (Big Egg Marsh.)
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Northern Harrier (Big Egg Marsh.)
Cooper's Hawk (Big Egg Marsh.)
American Kestrel (Floyd Bennett Field.)
Merlin (Big Egg Marsh.)
Peregrine Falcon (Ft. Tilden.)
Clapper Rail (Big Egg Marsh.)
Black-bellied Plover (Floyd Bennett Field.)
Laughing Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Eastern Phoebe
Blue-headed Vireo (Ft. Tilden.)
Red-eyed Vireo (Ft. Tilden.)
House Wren
Marsh Wren (Big Egg Marsh.)
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher (Ft. Tilden.)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (Ft. Tilden.)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Ft. Tilden.)
Palm Warbler
American Redstart (Ft. Tilden.)
Common Yellowthroat
Blue Grosbeak (Ft. Tilden.)
Indigo Bunting (Ft. Tilden, Floyd Bennett Field.)
Dickcissel (Big Egg Marsh.)
Clay-colored Sparrow (Big Egg Marsh.)
Field Sparrow (Ft. Tilden.)
Savannah Sparrow (Virtually everywhere.)
Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow (Ft. Tilden.)
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow (Ft. Tilden.)
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow (Floyd Bennett Field.)
Bobolink (Big Egg Marsh.)
Boat-tailed Grackle (Big Egg Marsh.)

Other common species seen (or heard):
Double-crested Cormorant, Canada Goose, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Blue Jay, American Crow, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch, House Sparrow


Yojimbot said...

Leave that kestrel alone Mr. Merlin!

Marge said...


I agree with you about the Monarchs. I have not seen such a nice migration with numbers like this since 2000, when I counted an endless stream for hours on one banner day. It would be nice to see that happen again. This migration holds hope for a rebound.


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