Thursday, July 16, 2015

Birding All-Star Break

For me birding during the month of July is somewhat like the All-Star break in major league baseball. Like the All-Star game, the birding is for the most part inconsequential. It also gives one time to reflect on the first half of the season, whether baseball or birding, consider one's strategy during the second half and take time to smell the roses (and all the other blooms).

I thought it might be interesting to create a chart of the number of species I'd tallied in Brooklyn up to July broken down by month. It should come as no surprise that the abundance gradually increased from January to its peak in approximately mid-May. From that point most of the birds that nest locally have settled into family rearing and the remaining species have continued north to other breeding grounds. That's not to say that Brooklyn is a relative birding wasteland during the Dog Days, there's just not as many species, and certainly not the overall bird count that one experiences during a spring fallout day.

Unlike the sudden burst of activity in the spring, during the second half of the season expect a much more drawn out, gradual increase. Like major league baseball, the birding break is generally short-lived and some arctic breeding birds have already begun their southbound journey.

This week I did some very casual birding and both Gerritsen Creek and Prospect Park. I managed to tally 63 species of birds. It might have been a bit higher had I not gotten caught in a torrential downpour at Marine Park and barely dodged even more rain at Prospect Park.

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Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center at Marine Park, Brooklyn
Date: Jul 14, 2015
Species: 40

Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Osprey
American Oystercatcher
Least Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Laughing Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Least Tern
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
Chimney Swift
Willow Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Fish Crow
Barn Swallow
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler
Boat-tailed Grackle

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, American Robin, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow

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Location: Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Date: July 15, 2015
Species: 44

Wood Duck
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Green Heron
Red-tailed Hawk
Laughing Gull
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Northern Flicker
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Wood Thrush
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch

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

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