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Sunday, October 03, 2010

September Birds

During the month of September I only managed to add three new species to my year list. The good news is that none of them were on my list for 2009. Also, two of the three were seen in Brooklyn, bringing my Brooklyn year list up to 224.

My year Philadelphia Vireo was found in Prospect Park during a fairly active morning of birding. I called Heydi, who had never seen one, and she rushed over to the park. The "philly" was part of a mixed flock of warblers and vireos that I spotted near Rick's Place. By the time Heydi got to the park, the flock had moved on. In retrospect, it seems inconceivable, but we actually tracked down the same flock two hours later on Lookout Hill and Heydi got to see her life Philadelphia Vireo.

Philadelphia Vireo are similar in appearance to Tennessee Warbler and somewhat similar to Red-eyed Vireo and Warbling Vireo. The Powder Mill Reserve (a bird banding station) has a nice side-by-side comparison of the vireo and warbler here (scroll down to the second photo).

It took me a couple of trips to Floyd Bennett Field to locate a group of Buff-breasted Sandpipers. The four "grasspipers" were hanging around in a small field next to Aviator Sports. This was the first time that I'd ever seen this species in Brooklyn.

Hook Mountain is a hawkwatch spot overlooking the Hudson River in Nyack, NY. Large numbers of migrating Broad-winged Hawks are frequently observed here in mid to late-September. Other migrating raptors are also seen here, but the spectacle of hundreds of broad-wings passing overhead at one time is the big draw. Of course, timing is everything. I've gone to Hook Mountain about 10 times, over several years, and only experienced a big Broad-winged Hawk flight once. The adjacent photo is from September 19, 2004. There are 133 hawks in the photo (click to enlarge), and that wasn't the entire flock! Unfortunately, this past September 19th was not one of those memorable days. As a consolation prize, an adult Bald Eagle passed low over the ridge, lifting the spirits of all the hawkwatchers on a very slow day punctuated by periodic attacks by a column of a million flying ants.

247) Philadelphia Vireo (Prospect Park, 09/09/10)
248) Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Floyd Bennett Field, 09/16/10)
249) Bald Eagle (Hook Mountain, 09/19/10)

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