Thursday, October 06, 2011

September Birds

Outside of a few trips to Prospect Park and a day trip to Hook Mountain, most of my September wanderings were around coastal Brooklyn. I concentrated on finding wildlife at Dead Horse Bay, Floyd Bennett Field, Marine Park and Plum Beach.

The most productive day of birding during the month of September was on the 9th. Heydi and I spent about 8 hours searching Dead Horse Bay and Floyd Bennett Field for, primarily, American Golden-Plovers. Migrating Black-bellied Plovers had begun to assemble along the glass strewn beach at Dead Horse and our expectation was to spy a golden-plover hiding within the flock. We struck out that day, but did locate a banded Red Knot within the plovers. Across Flatbush Avenue at Floyd Bennett Field we stumbled on a Yellow-breasted Chat skulking around in the community gardens. Another uncommon bird spotted that day was a Dickcissel at the edge of the park's extensive grasslands.

One bird that I had given up on seeing this year was Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. However, on a lunch break in Prospect Park on the 16th I found one calling from the top of a dead tree on the Peninsula. I'm sure that I would have overlooked this small, inconspicuous flycatcher had it not been making its unique "per-WEE" call.

It took several trips around south Brooklyn looking for golden-plover before Heydi and I were rewarded with, not one, but 3 American Golden-Plovers. One was at Dead Horse Bay within the ever-expanding flock of Black-bellied Plovers. The other two were at Floyd Bennett Field.

I ended the month with a nice surprise in Prospect Park. While walking along a dirt path on Lookout Hill late in the day, I stumbled on a small flock of warblers. They were feeding low to the ground on a hillside covered in flowering White Snakeroot. The dominant species in this understory habitat was Common Yellowthroat, but also present were Ovenbird, Black-and-white Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, American Redstart, Northern Parula and Magnolia Warbler. They appeared to be dining on an abundance of insects on and around the flowers. At some point I noticed the flowers moving and parting, as if a chipmunk or other small animal was walking along the ground. I pished a few times to see if I could rouse the curiosity of the unseen critter. Finally, it popped out into the open and perched in a wooden snow fence near the top of the rise. It was a Connecticut Warbler, his large eyering glaring at me and in all his olive and yellow glory. This is a very good bird to find, not just in Brooklyn, but anywhere. Like the skulking Yellow-breasted Chat, these birds are generally seen only when THEY want to be seen. I can count on one hand how many times I've seen this bird in the last 10 years. The last one was in 2009, thanks to a heads up from my friend Shane. It was a very good bird to end the month on.

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NYS total: 246
Kings total: 236

239) Red Knot (Dead Horse Bay, 09/10/11)
240) Yellow-breasted Chat (Floyd Bennett Field, 09/10/11)
241) Dickcissel (Floyd Bennett Field, 09/10/11)
242) Gull-billed Tern (Plumb Beach, 09/12/11)
243) Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Prospect Park, 09/16/11)
244) Saltmarsh Sparrow (Marine Park Saltmarsh Nature Center, 09/25/11)
245) American Golden-Plover (Dead Horse Bay, 09/29/11)
246) Connecticut Warbler (Prospect Park, 09/30/11)

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