Monday, October 05, 2015

Green-Wood Cemetery Birding

With the threat of a hurricane looming over the northeastern US, local birders (myself included) were making plans to hit the coast in search of storm displaced seabirds. When meteorologists finally announced that Joachin had made a right turn and was heading out to sea sparing the New York coastline I think I heard a unified "argh!" coming from NYC birders. Despite the good news-bad news scenario, many of my friends made early morning treks to various Brooklyn coastal areas on Sunday. There were no hurricane conditions locally, but extremely high tides, gusting winds and a lesser storm system could have pushed some interesting birds into the area. I think this may be known as the "eternally optimistic birder effect". I was not so optimistic and opted to sleep late, then take a lazy walk around Green-Wood Cemetery looking for new southbound migrants. It actually turned out to be a pretty good morning.

The first thing I noticed on entering the cemetery near "The Flats" was that there were Palm Warblers virtually everywhere. They were flying low to the ground for very short distances in flocks varying in size from only a few individual to a few dozen. Mixed in with them were smaller numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers. Also within the warbler flocks was a recent influx of migrating sparrows. White-throated Sparrows have begun arriving as have a few Dark-eyed Juncos. Chipping Sparrows also made up a smaller amount. Northern Flickers were ubiquitous and I'm sure my final count of 83 is conservative. I spotted a large, presumably female, Sharp-shinned Hawk several times making diving passes at the flickers. At this time of year I frequently find piles of their lovely yellow feathers near hawk kill sites.

Of the sparrow species I tallied in the cemetery on Sunday the highlights were a pair of White-crowned Sparrows and Lincoln's Sparrows in two different locations. Lincoln's Sparrows are sometimes difficult to separate from Song Sparrows, but the "Nemesis Bird" website has a very good identification piece on the two sparrows here. There also seemed to be several Swamp Sparrows and Savannah Sparrows newly arrived in the cemetery.

In general, Green-Wood Cemetery was pretty birdy, especially given the dearth of birding reports coming from the rest of the borough. I finished my lazy man's birding morning with 62 species of birds - 12 species of warbler and 9 species of sparrow.

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Location: Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn
Date: Sunday, Oct 4, 2015
Species: 62 species

Wood Duck (4.)
Double-crested Cormorant
Sharp-shinned Hawk (1.)
Red-tailed Hawk (1.)
Laughing Gull
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (1.)
Belted Kingfisher (2.)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (1.)
Downy Woodpecker (1.)
Hairy Woodpecker (1.)
Northern Flicker (83.)
American Kestrel (1.)
Monk Parakeet
Eastern Phoebe (12.)
Blue-headed Vireo (2.)
Red-eyed Vireo (1.)
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch (1.)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (3.)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (1.)
Swainson's Thrush (1.)
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing

Ovenbird (3.)
Black-and-white Warbler (2.)
Common Yellowthroat (13.)
American Redstart (4.)
Northern Parula (2.)
Magnolia Warbler (3.)
Bay-breasted Warbler (1. Feeding at edge of grass bordering Crescent Water.)
Blackpoll Warbler (4.)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (6.)
Palm Warbler (50.)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (9.)
Black-throated Green Warbler (1.)

Chipping Sparrow (15.)
Dark-eyed Junco (6.)
White-crowned Sparrow (2.)
White-throated Sparrow (25.)
Savannah Sparrow (4.)
Song Sparrow (2.)
Lincoln's Sparrow (2.)
Swamp Sparrow (5.)
Eastern Towhee (1.)

Scarlet Tanager (5.)
Indigo Bunting (1.)
Red-winged Blackbird (1.)
Baltimore Oriole (2.)
American Goldfinch

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Blue Jay, American Crow (2.), American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, House Finch, House Sparrow

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