Monday, April 30, 2007

Saturday's Linnaean Society trip

European Cherry (click to enlarge)

(Photo credit - Rob Jett)

Saturday I spent the day in Prospect Park leading a trip for the Linneaen Society. Typically, at this date I don’t expect a huge influx of migrating songbirds. However, we did observe a nice mix of birds and the diversity has changed noticeably since Monday, the last time I was in the park.

Black-throated Green Warbler in Ravine

(Photo credit - Eleanor Tauber)

Some of the highlights include:

- Large number of cormorant flyovers (approximately 150) and more than average numbers in the park waterways
- Multiple Chimney Swifts feeding above the park
- Barn Swallow numbers have increased
- Least Flycatcher in an oak tree next to the Tennis House
- 3 Great Crested Flycatchers; 1 near the entrance at Grand Army Plaza, 1 on Lookout Hill, 1 at Rose Garden
- Eastern Kingbird (examining an old nest on the Long Meadow)
- 1st Warbling Vireo of the season
- Ruby-crowned Kinglet numbers have increased
- Blue-gray Gnatcatcher numbers have increased
- Veery (slightly earlier than average)
- Gray Catbirds numbers have increased
- Black-and-white Warblers numbers have increased significantly
- Eastern Towhees numbers have increased
- A male and female Orchard Oriole were feeding together in the vale. Only significant is that they breed in the park. Early breeders?

Unidentified viburnum (click to enlarge)

(Photo credit - Rob Jett)

Great Egret across from skating rink

(Photo credit - Rob Jett)

Polkweed sprouting

(Photo credit - Rob Jett)

Of the 87 species recorded in Prospect Park Saturday (a season high) 5 were year firsts; Great Crested Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Nashville Warbler, American Redstart and Scarlet Tanager. At 13 species, yesterday found the greatest diversity of wood-warbler species recorded so far this spring; Blue-winged Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Pine Warbler, Palm Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush and Common Yellowthroat. Note, however, that 6 of those species were just single individuals. The only relatively abundant warbler species were yellow-rumped and black-and-white.

One interesting experience occurred at the end of the trip when I was walking people back to Grand Army Plaza, where we began the day. We were walking through the Midwood, where we encountered a Veery. He seemed extremely hungry and picked up tiny, invisible insects every few seconds. He was on the wood chip trail directly in front of us. More hungry than wary, he kept approaching very close to our group. I asked everyone to sit down on the railing that borders the trails. I wanted to see how close he would get to us. This normally shy bird, walked so close while foraging for insects, that I could practically reach out and touch it. I like to take advantage of rare opportunities such as this, to closely study a bird. You sometimes see markings and behavior that would otherwise be overlooked.

Veery in the Midwood (click to enlarge)

(Photo credit - Rob Jett)

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Prospect Park, 4/28/2007
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Double-crested Cormorant (12 on lake; ~150 in flyovers.)
Great Blue Heron (3.)
Great Egret (4 or 5.)
Black-crowned Night-Heron (4, Lower Pool.)
Canada Goose
Brant (~12, flyover.)
Northern Shoveler (1, Upper Pool.)
Ruddy Duck
Red-tailed Hawk (2.)
American Kestrel (2.)
American Coot
Laughing Gull (3.)
Great Black-backed Gull
Chimney Swift (2 or 3.)
Belted Kingfisher (1.)
Northern Flicker
Least Flycatcher (1, next to Tennis House.)
Great Crested Flycatcher (3.)
Eastern Kingbird (1, Long Meadow across from Nelly's Lawn.)
Blue-headed Vireo (6 - 8.)
Warbling Vireo (1.)
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
White-breasted Nuthatch (3.)
Carolina Wren (2.)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (5.)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Fairly common.)
Veery (1, Midwood.)
Hermit Thrush (Fairly common.)
Gray Catbird (Several.)
Yellow Warbler (1.)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Common.)
Black-throated Green Warbler 1, Ravine.)
Palm Warbler (Several.)
Black-and-white Warbler (Fairly common.)
Northern Waterthrush (1, Vale of Cashmere.)
Scarlet Tanager (Fem., Ravine.)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (1.)
Eastern Towhee (Several.)
Chipping Sparrow (Flock of ~20 on Nethermead Meadow.)
Field Sparrow (2, Sparrow Bowl.)
Swamp Sparrow (1, Peninsula.)
White-throated Sparrow (Abundant.)
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole (Male & female at Vale of Cashmere.)
Baltimore Oriole (1, Peninsula near Wellhouse.)
American Goldfinch

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

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