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Friday, April 05, 2013

Last Weekend's Birds

Last weekend added a couple of North-bound migrants to the Brooklyn land and soundscape, although the full force of songbird migration is still a little ways off.

The trilling, warbling song of Pine Warblers are now being heard sporadically in Prospect Park and Green-Wood Cemetery. It's a nice counterpoint to the similar sounding, but thinner trill of the recently awakened Dark-eyed Juncos which have overwintered. At Green-Wood Cemetery I was pointing out a groundhog den to Heydi and mentioned that these large, overfed "squirrels" should no longer be hibernating, at which point this guy below popped his head out of his burrow:

Blue-winged Teal, which are scarce around NYC during migration, appear to be heading North with individuals recently spotted at Gravesend Bay, Prospect Park and Floyd Bennett Field.

There are still a fair number of White-winged Crossbills in the area and some people are speculating that we could see some breeding locally. New York City is a long way from their Northern breeding grounds, but this species does typically begin nesting around this time. At Green-Wood Cemetery Heydi and I watched about a dozen Pine Siskins and six crossbills foraging on the ground for sweetgum seeds. Piles of dried sweetgum balls had collected at the edge of the roadway beneath a stand of these trees. While the siskins probed the spiky balls for seeds, the crossbills had a very different technique. They would carefully select one with seeds, carry it up into a nearby tree where it would use its needle-nose plier like bill to dissect the dried fruit, extracting every last bit of food.

The weather forecast calls for the winds to shift to the South overnight on Saturday, so Sunday could see many more migrants moving through the area.


Date: 03/29/13 - 04/01/13
Location: Coney Island, Green-Wood Cemetery, Prospect Park
Species: 59

Northern Shoveler
Ring-necked Duck
Long-tailed Duck
Hooded Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Red-throated Loon
Common Loon
Horned Grebe
Northern Gannet
Great Cormorant
Turkey Vulture
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot
Iceland Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Belted Kingfisher
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Monk Parakeet
Eastern Phoebe
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Carolina Wren
Northern Mockingbird
American Tree Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
White-winged Crossbill
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch

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

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