Monday, July 11, 2011

June Birds

During the month of June the northbound migration of birds usually comes to an end, so it was no surprise that I only added one new species for the borough of Brooklyn for 2011. I took a day trip with Heydi to the breeding grounds of some of the Atlantic Flyway's migrants just a short drive north of NYC. There we found a few more new species for the state.

My final Brooklyn bird for June was unexpected and I didn't even have my bins with me. While enjoying the sunset and a glass of wine on Friday the 10th, I heard the unmistakable "peent" call of a Common Nighthawk nearby. Neither a hawk nor common, this relative of the Whip-poor-will used to nest in Brooklyn. With falcon-like wings they swoop and dive for insects usually at dusk. The individual I heard was hunting for insects in the sky over Prospect Park's Long Meadow.

Sterling Forest State Park is about 50 miles north of Prospect Park, Brooklyn (as the crow flies) and a great place to look for breeding songbirds. It is the newest  park in the state system. One of those birds that we were hoping to locate there is the Golden-winged Warbler. This neotropic songbird has been in decline throughout most of its range and, in fact, it has been many years since I've spotted one in NYC. I haven't birded in Sterling Forest in several years and had to dig through my notes to remember all the best birding hotspots.

Sterling Forest didn't disappoint and we quickly located Golden-winged Warblers on territory. Other breeding warblers seen or heard were Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat and Hooded Warbler. In all, we tallied 59 species of birds during our hikes around Sterling Forest. In addition to the Golden-winged Warbler, we spotted three other year birds - Wild Turkey, Pileated Woodpecker and Broad-winged Hawk.

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New York State total: 226
Kings County total: 214

222) Golden-winged Warbler (Sterling Forest--Ironwood Drive and environs, 06/05/11)
223) Wild Turkey (Sterling Forest--Ironwood Drive and environs, 06/05/11)
224) Pileated Woodpecker (Sterling Lake Loop Trail, 06/05/11)
225) Broad-winged Hawk (Sterling Lake Loop Trail, 06/05/11)
226) Common Nighthawk (Prospect Park--Long Meadow, 06/10/11)

Below is a short slideshow of some Sterling Forest images:

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