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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mother's Day Walk

This past Sunday's Mother's Day Walk wasn't as productive for migrant songbirds as I'd expect at this date. It was a pleasant walk, however, with a few nice highlights.

Saturday's all day torrential rains and Sunday's cooler temperatures with north winds certainly played a big role in the absence of birds, but we still managed to eek out 8 species of warbler. Most were single individuals, with the normally pervasive Yellow-rumped Warbler down to just a few sightings.

On the non-songbird front, the cemetery's Green Heron pair seem to have settled on a nest location. For the second year in a row they've built a nest on the lower sweeping branches of an Elm tree at the Dell Water. In my experience, this tiny wading bird tends to choose precarious spots overhanging bodies of water. This year is no difference and, I suppose, there is a certain amount of safety from egg robbing raccoons in that arrangement. I'm always amazed that the hatchlings don't tumble out of the nest and into the water. Hey, what do I know, I'm just a stupid human.

Our resident Red-tailed Hawks have also picked the same nest tree as the one they used last year. As of this past weekend the female appears to have laid eggs as she was sitting on the nest when we checked. The nest is near the top of a tall pine in the "Flats" along Cypress Avenue, near Vine Avenue.

Finally, the group was amused at two points during the walk by a couple of well fed Groundhogs. I assume that the groundskeepers aren't amused by these largest of our ground squirrels burrows, but folks on my walks always get a smile out of seeing them. The larger cemeteries around New York City are probably the last stronghold for these mammals in the Big Apple. I hope they never disappear from our ecosystem. Some other common and regional names include chuck, woodchuck, wood-shock, groundpig, whistler, whistle pig, thickwood badger, Canada marmot, monax, moonack, weenusk, and red monk.


Location: Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn
Date: May 14, 2017
Species: 53 species (+1 other taxa)

American Black Duck x Mallard (hybrid) (1.)
Double-crested Cormorant (1.)
Great Blue Heron (1.)
Green Heron (2.)
Red-tailed Hawk (2.)
Spotted Sandpiper (1.)
Laughing Gull
Chimney Swift
American Kestrel (1.)
Eastern Kingbird
Blue-headed Vireo (1.)
Warbling Vireo
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (1.)
Tree Swallow (1.)
Barn Swallow
Red-breasted Nuthatch (1.)
House Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (1.)
Gray Catbird
Ovenbird (2.)
Black-and-white Warbler (2.)
Common Yellowthroat (3.)
American Redstart (2.)
Northern Parula (2.)
Yellow Warbler (3.)
Blackpoll Warbler (1.)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (1.)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (3.)
Chipping Sparrow
Summer Tanager (1 immature male; 1 full adult male; a 3rd (fem.) reported at Dell Water by J. Borker.)
Scarlet Tanager (4.)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (1.)
Indigo Bunting (3.)
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole (4.)
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, House Finch, House Sparrow

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