Thursday, October 31, 2013

Waterfowl in Prospect Park

It was an overcast, drizzly afternoon in Brooklyn...perfect Autumn conditions to check on arriving waterfowl in Prospect Park.

I followed the park's waterways, beginning at the Fallkill Falls, past the Upper and Lower Pools, through the Ravine and Ambergil pool, to the Lily Pond and Binnen Falls, along the Lullwater and finally, the shoreline of Prospect Lake. One of the brilliant illusions of Omstead and Vaux's design is that the various ponds, streams and lake appear to be all separate features when they are all actually one meandering body of water fed by the city's water system.

At the Lower Pool a small flock of Wood Duck hugged the shoreline beneath low hanging oak boughs. Farther along the waterway were the usual collection of park Mallards and mutts. I encountered my first flock of Northern Shovelers at the Lullwater. Where the watercourse widens beneath the Terrace Bridge was a nice mix of Gadwall, shovelers, Ruddy Ducks and several coots. A Belted Kingfisher rattled from somewhere near the Peninsula. The water's final destination at the 11 acre Prospect Lake was where the greatest diversity of waterfowl was today. In addition to another pair of Gadwall, many more shovelers and Ruddy Ducks (plus the odd assortment of Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Mallards and hybrid domestic duck) was a flock of 9 Ring-necked Ducks. Tucked into the close knit flock, and looking a bit out of place, was a tiny female Green-winged Teal.

As this is only the start of waterfowl migration, I expect to see a greater diversity of duck on Prospect Lake in coming weeks and certainly greater abundance, especially Northern Shovelers.

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Date: 10/31/13
Location: Prospect Park
Species: 42

Wood Duck (5.)
Gadwall (7.)
Northern Shoveler (65.)
Green-winged Teal (1.)
Ring-necked Duck (9.)
Ruddy Duck
Pied-billed Grebe (4.)
Double-crested Cormorant (3.)
Great Blue Heron (3.)
American Coot
Belted Kingfisher (1.)
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe (1.)
Black-capped Chickadee (4.)
Winter Wren (2.)
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush (2.)
Eastern Towhee (1.)
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow (2.)
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
American Goldfinch

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, American Black Duck x Mallard (hybrid), Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker (2.), Downy Woodpecker (1.), Blue Jay, American Robin, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, House Sparrow

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