Sunday, November 18, 2007

Winter finch

Peter called me from the park to tell me that there was a Pine Siskin on the thistle feeder on Breeze Hill. Despite the cold, drizzly weather, I grabbed my gear and made the 25 minute walk across the park.

Pine Siskins are another bird species that is regarded as rare around the city, but I think is frequently overlooked. Every year at around this time I walk through Prospect Park, checking Sweetgum trees for American Goldfinch flocks. Once I find one, I take my time and scan through the entire flock looking for siskins. If I'm patient (and lucky), I'll usually find one. Last year I found one within a flock of goldfinches drinking from a large puddle on Center Drive.

There was a noisy flock of goldfinches at the feeder that Peter set-up on Breeze Hill. A few greedy birds monopolized the six perches on the tube feeder and snapped at others trying to access the seeds. A few minutes after I arrived a Pine Siskin aggressively pushed his way onto one of the perches.

I had been watching the birds for about 15 minutes when Rusty arrived. At that point the siskin had disappeared. It would be a life bird for Rusty and I reassured him that the Pine Siskin had been coming and going since I arrived. Eventually, it returned to the feeder and we both had good looks at the male bird. If the sun had been shining, I probably could have taken some nicer photos. It was nice to see all the winter visitors back in the park. Another interesting bird that I spotted at the feeders was a rare, yellow variant Purple Finch.

Prospect Park, 11/18/2007
-
Northern Shoveler
Ring-necked Duck
Bufflehead
Ruddy Duck
Sharp-shinned Hawk
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Hairy Woodpecker
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
White-throated Sparrow
Purple Finch (Yellow variant.)
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch

Other common species seen (or heard):
American Black Duck, Mallard, Herring Gull, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker

by Rob Jett for "The City Birder"

1 comment:

Pamela said...

some years the siskins take over my feeder. They are much like the gold finch, in that they don't fly away as quickly as the others.

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